Dear Mark,

Let me tell you about the best thing you’ve given me.

When you turned the small nook off the back of the kitchen — where we kept the dog’s crate in the corner, her hair gathering in a thick blanket around the edges until I vacuumed it once a week, maybe less, the open shelves stacked with vases and the crock pot and the kitchen tools we never use, collecting dust and more dog hair, the high table where we used to sit sometimes, to eat dinner when it was just you and me and only two high stools were needed for our family, but had become a place for advertisements and credit card offers that came in the mail and sat unopened for weeks — into my corner of the world, my creativity found room to breathe.

I was out on a Monday night. I came home and you weren’t in the living room watching television or studying. I said, “Mark?” and heard you call out from the back of the house. I came to find you.

The nook was empty except for my desk, the area rug from outside our bedroom, and the yellow paisley chair I love. Where was all the junk? You were sweaty and smiling like a kid. “I’m making this your spot.” You said that and I almost started to cry. We moved all my books to the shelves. I sewed curtains out of this teal fabric with giant starfish all over it. I painted the walls a light seafoam and used my teaching money to buy a piece of art that makes me feel like I’m at the beach. We made it into a place for me to read and write.

That’s its only purpose, but you knew that even though that seems like a very small duty for a whole room in a tiny bungalow, it is a grand purpose.

I write there every day as the sun rises in the kitchen window facing east. I read there in the yellow chair, staring out at the big tree in the backyard as its leaves die a slow, lovely death. I sit below the shelves full of physical, printed books and they actively inspire me to keep going, it’s worthwhile! I hide out there, think there, doze there, dream there, escape there and rest there.

I think of you there. There’s a photograph of you on the writing desk (which you also gave me, as a wedding gift). You are nineteen, wearing your Red Sox hat, eating a cannoli in Boston. It’s the you I met when I was a kid.

Thank you for the nook. I love you,

Me.

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