March 1994 (Claire is 22, Henry is 30)

“At first we live in a two-bedroom apartment in a two-flat in Ravenswood. It’s sunny, with butter-colored hardwood floors and a kitchen full of antique cabinets and antiquated appliances. We buy things, spend Sunday afternoons in Crate & Barrel exchanging wedding presents, order a sofa that can’t fit through the doors of the apartment and has to be sent back. The apartment is a laboratory in which we conduct experiments perform research on each other. We discover that Henry hates it when I absentmindedly click my spoon against my teeth while reading the paper at breakfast. We agree that it is okay for me to listen to Joni Mitchell and it is okay for Henry to listen to the Shaggs as long as the other person isn’t around. We figure out that Henry should do all the cooking and I should be in charge of laundry and neither of us is willing to vacuum so we hire a cleaning service.

We fall into a routine. Henry works Tuesdays through Saturdays at the Newberry. He gets up at 7:30 and starts the coffee, then throws on his running clothes and goes for a run. When he gets back he showers and dresses, and I stagger out of bed and chat with him while he fixes breakfast. After we eat, he brushes his teeth and speeds out the door to catch the El, and I go back to bed and doze for an hour or so.

When I get up again the apartment is quiet. I take a bath and comb my hair and put on my work clothes. I pour myself another cup of coffee, and I walk into the back bedroom which is my studio, and I close the door.

I am having a hard time, in my tiny back bedroom studio, in the beginning of my married life. The space that I can call mine, that isn’t full of Henry, is so small that my ideas have become small. I am like a caterpillar in a cocoon of paper; all around me are sketches for sculptors, small drawings that seem like moths fluttering against the windows, beating their wings to escape from the tiny space. I make maquettes, tiny sculptures that are rehearsals for huge sculptures. Every day the ideas come more reluctantly, as though they know I will starve them and stunt their growth. At night I dream about color, about submerging my arms into vats of paper fiber. I dream about miniature gardens I can’t set foot in because I am a giantess.”

– Claire Abeshire, The Time Traveler’s Wife (283/284)

This book consumed me wholly, I can’t even begin to explain it. This isn’t the quote I wanted for today, but it’s close enough.


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