A Stool on Which To Sit

When we first moved into the Boston condo exactly 20 years ago, there was no furniture whatsoever. As a full-time college student and almost-full-time retail worker (35 hours per work, thank you) I didn’t have much time to worry about interior designer, or even the simple stocking of a few main pieces of furniture, so for the first few weeks I lived sparsely with a cot (well, the mattress portion of a cot, anyway), a single lamp, and, eventually, a pair of stools near the kitchen area. The kind on which I am precariously perched in these photos.

This was a quiet time in the condo, and in my life. Despite the business of my schedule, and the expanding social scene of a gay guy just entering his 20’s, my moments alone were still and silent. Part of this was a practical matter of not having a stereo system, or a clock radio that got any sort of decent reception in the bedroom, and part of it was an unconscious yet somehow deliberate act of seeking out quiet when the rest of my life was getting louder.

At the time, I don’t think I fully realized the gift that such quiet solitude would prove to be. In fact, I don’t think I understood that for many years thereafter. Only recently have I come to realize the great power and healing that comes from being alone in the quiet of that condo. I’ve always felt a pull there when I’ve felt troubled or unsure, and I think it’s because there is this sense of peace and calm that originated there all those years ago.

Today, there is a decidedly-full collection of furniture and accessories in the space, but the quiet remains, if you let it. As the day dims and the street lamps flicker on, that quiet is there. As night falls and the other brownstone windows wink awake, the quiet pervades. As another morning arrives, whether gray or sunny or stormy, the quiet remains.

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