Monday, January 31, 2011

the magical cottage

Once Upon a Time...

In May of 2008, a senior nursing student at the University of Oklahoma was looking for a new place to live.

She was driving around in her mom's car, going up and down the beautiful historic streets, wishing she could one day afford one of those beautiful homes, rich with history, but knew until then, she would likely need to settle for a nearby apartment.

Until the girl and her mom noticed a sign.
The sign said:

The Sign Read: FOR RENT
Cottage in Alley

The girls called the phone number, and looked instantly at the cottage. Upon walking in, the girl literally had tears in her eyes. She knew the rent, at $550, was slightly out of reach. However, the feeling she had, was INSTANT peace, comfort, and tranquility. Not only was it too expensive, but the landlord also told her he hadn't rented to a tenant with a pet. She told him that her maltese was part of the package-deal, and she was so sad to have to walk away.

The landlord had built this house himself, and had a lot of pride at stake. He sensed the girl's instant devotion and care for his little gem. And after a couple of moments....
....he told her he'd negotiate.
The happy girl and her pup moved in that summer of 2008.

And so began a beautiful relationship between a girl and her cottage.....

This was the room the girl slept in. Next to the mirror on the wall was a little nook that a chair was tucked away in. There was a window, and a large tree. The girl would sometimes curl up in this chair, and listen to the birds and squirrels. The house was happy the girl felt safe and comfortable inside, even though the girl was alone.

There wasn't need for much decoration in the kitchen, because the house was filled with character.
Granite countertops, wood floors and cabinets, and stone-tile backsplash were put in by the landlord, the maker of the cottage.
When the weather was nice, this window remained opened. The cottage was tucked away, and the girl felt safe leaving her windows open even while she was away.
The house was covered in trees that had been there long before the girl was born. The girl felt grateful for these trees every single day. Even when they stained the top of her car.
The house wasn't very interested in politics, but she was never bothered that the girl would voice her opinion prior to people walking through the front door.
Walks in the coveted neighborhood were always a joy for the girl. This was a photo taken on her street, Lahoma Ave. The trees grew very tall here.
Christmas time came around, and the decorations the girl purchased were simple. The house was made of wood and didn't need much more than a small, understated tree.
A little icy garland on the ledge that separated the kitchen from the sitting room. The house felt like the girl had put a necklace on her. She enjoyed the modest jewelry for the holiday.

The girl would allow her visiting boyfriend to stay on the occasional weekend, but it was HER cottage, and he was just a lucky visitor.
The girl would have friends, family, and regulars from the bar she worked at (walking distance from the cottage, "The Library Bar and Grille") come over anytime. She enjoyed the company. The girl was so proud to show off her home.
Her FAVORITE company was her best friend, Jen. Jen also lived in Norman, but loved the cottage more than her own house! The cottage was a retreat for these two girls. Often, the girls would sit on the couch and talk. And that would last for hours. Wine would flow and laughs would roll out. Breeze would blow in the window, and birds would sing. There was very little sound of traffic. There was a lot of beautiful music. The cottage felt filled to the brim with love.
The girl learned how to grill herself, and when the weather was nice, she would cook outside of the house. 

The girl even invited her favorite professor over and cooked dinner. The girl, the professor, and the professor's daughter, ate on this picnic table, and enjoyed the lovely day. The girl thanked the professor for passing on her knowledge, and the girl graduated from the University. 

When the girl graduated from OU, she got a job, and bought a nice TV. The house didn't mind, because it kept the girl around even more often.
The girl also bought a new car. She felt like she was growing up. The house was happy for the girl, but deep down, did not like the car because when the girl got in the car, she left the house. Ultimately, the house knew the girl would move and drive the car back to Texas.

In May of 2010, after 2 wonderful years, the girl began packing up boxes. Her parents and boyfriend came up from Texas and helped her with several car-loads. To thank them, she took them to drinks and lunch at The Library. When they were finished, her parents started driving back to Texas, and Lindsay knew what she had to do. She walked back in the bare and empty cottage, and sat down inside. The house felt so naked...and lonely already. How could anybody else love this cottage as this girl had??
Her boyfriend sat behind her, and hugged her while she felt her emotions in all of their entirety. Tears did not stop falling. The girl felt she was a part of this house, and she felt a part of her would not be leaving. In the midst of her grief, there was a knock on the door.
The girl answered, and saw her best friend. She gave the girl her karma necklace, a beautiful and symbolic piece of jewelry between the two friends.
The friends sobbed, hugged, and parted ways. The girl's boyfriend drove back to Texas in his own car. The girl was to follow, after returning her key.
Walking out of the house and locking the door for the final time was so bittersweet. I tear up as I write this. I walked two doors down, to my landlord's house. I sobbed and thanked him for taking the girl with the dog. For building such a beautiful and wonderful home. For coming over at midnight when I saw a flying roach and was scared. For putting out mouse poison when I didn't know what to do. For teaching me how to plug in a washer and dryer.

For giving me the experience.

I will never have an experience quite like this one, ever again. But I am so grateful for these memories. And I am grateful for this medium, as a way for me to express my emotions. I have not been able to look at these photos since I lived in the cottage. Though I have visited Norman several times, I have not driven by. I missed her too much. I will go back in a couple of weeks, and I think I'll drive by. But I know I'll cry....


  1. It's strange how connected you feel to a place after you've lived there for so long.


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