January lingered on for about six months. Now, all of a sudden, we’re over halfway through the year. The garden and heat advisories are in bloom, the dogs are eating corn on the cob, people are jetting off on adventures, summer parties are all the rage, crop tops have become necessary wardrobe staples. Life is good, better than it’s ever been. My Bond House crew continues to mesmerize me with their generous and fun-loving souls…because, as you know by now, nothing in this house is done in half measures.
The last several weeks have been a whirlwind of visitors. At some point the Google calendar we share had a carefully coordinated schedule that announced the arrivals, departures, and bedroom assignments of our many June guests. As Theresa’s parents left, my mother arrived. When my mother left, another German with a propensity for cooking Greek food and smoking arrived. One evening had every available bedroom full, as well as the living room and library converted into sleeping spaces. It’s hard to convey how utterly happy I was, which is a problem when one considers my profession. But how could I ever really tell you what a pleasure it is to have to move dinner into the dining room because there isn’t enough space in the kitchen? Or that I grow giddy when we bust out the folding chairs? Or that drinking a cup of coffee with six other people in the morning is the best way for me to start my day? It feels good to be around so much life.
It’s important to note that my mother visiting me in Boston was a big deal. Not because she doesn’t like to see me or travel, as interesting as that would be, but because I’ve never lived anywhere I was proud to call mine. To show her around our home, to tell her, “Oh, remember that thing I told you about? This is where it happened” is a great point of pride. In the weeks before her visit, I insisted she cook for us one evening, to which she replied she was on vacation and wouldn’t dare pick up a wooden spoon. I told her she’d want to cook. She said no way. Back and forth, back and forth. Well, the second her eyes hit the kitchen island, I knew I’d won. Days later, we were treated to shrimp & grits. Thank God.
During her visit, there was one night we’d all been looking forward to since January: The Boston Center for the Art’s annual ball. Well, specifically the disco late-night affair. As you can tell from the photo, the House showed up. While every moment of the evening was memorable in its own way, I’ll have to say that the looks Lark, Elzerie, and I got on the way to the pre-party were pretty tops. Not once, but twice, were we stopped between getting out of the Lyft and going into the restaurant a handful of yards away by people wanting to know where we were going. I’m telling you now, I may have peaked as a person. When it was finally time to go over to the party, I’m not sure any of us were ready for the sheer amount of fancy that was in the room. Open bars, music, food, dessert towers, fundraiser fun, dancers, a flash mob. There was everything. As the night progressed and I had more and more French 75s (lemon, simple syrup, gin, champagne, make it now), the more comfortable I was with the dancing and the hoopla. At some point, though it’s hard to say when, we left the party for someone’s nearby apartment where we chatted with strangers and ordered many, many, many pizzas (one of which Elzerie hid so that she and her roommates could be sure to have a slice of pepperoni). In short, the night was breathtaking.
I’m easy to impress because I delight in almost everything. Any one of my roommates will tell you that a good (or really bad) joke will send me to the floor in a heap in seconds flat. Fireworks can light up my eyes. A halfway decent panna cotta will make me cry. In short: I feel joy with my whole body. So when my roommates went out of their way to celebrate my birthday, my heart nearly burst. For those not in the know, June is LGBT Pride month, and one of the best times to live in the city. Even better, the weekend of my birthday was host to the Pride parade. What better way to celebrate than to go to said parade covered in glitter (snagging some very cool Pride swag) before popping off to the Esplanade for a picnic? A large group of people (friends, acquaintances, and new faces) came together to help me ring in 25 over a rainbow cake. After, Michael took some of us out in a small sailboat to cruise around the Charles River. Later that night, my best friend Harriet took me to our favorite bar and surprised me with more friends, including Theresa and Stefan. We drank, we ate, the band played me “Happy Birthday” after midnight, we Lyfted home singing along to something I can no longer remember. How lucky am I?
Of course, our happy home doesn’t revolve around me. Our day-to-day functions have far more to do with how we interact with one another, doing our best to enhance that overall human experience (y’know, the little things). In the last month we have welcomed three new roommates to the fold, a plucky 21-year-old embarking on an intensive internship and yet another doctor dedicated to their field. They’re both fun and kind, which means they fit in well. Towards the end of June, we had the opportunity to welcome one more person: Claudia’s mother Josephina. She is as lovely as her daughter, which means the heart of our house has doubled by half.
Together we have hosted more dinner parties and boozy brunches, much to the delight of our guests (I’m not even humble about our hosting skills anymore, y’all). But more importantly, our kitchen is always full. When Claudia and Michael returned from a trip, they brought with them some live lobsters that they had collected for supper that morning. Their cooking and shelling was a definitive group effort (rest in pieces Larry, Lester, Julio, and Cooper), and one that was amply enjoyed. At the end of most long days, we gather around the table with some kind of dinner-y goodness in front of us. Right now there are a lot of vegetables coming from our garden, which means salads and homemade dressing. It’s a treat. Conversation flows from topic to topic, which I’ve always found to be a true mark of character, and what a mark it is.
The only misadventure we’ve really had this month was cat-oriented. At some point, Mucha disappeared. The first few days were chalked up to typical feline antics; but the longer our yowling, ginger boy was gone, the more concerned we became. I pause to underline the we in this story, because I find it astonishing that my roommates actually care for my cat. In a way, he is everyone’s cat. Despite his propensity for roaming the halls and howling for company, Mucha seems to have everyone rather charmed (honestly). Poor Theresa was perhaps the most concerned, telling me every day how much she missed him and whether or not we should tell Gizem that he had gone away. I think my cool demeanor during the debacle surprised everyone. It’s not that I didn’t miss Mucha, it’s just that I had this unshakable certainty that he would turn up. Lo and behold, a full seven days later, I get a text stating that a very friendly orange and white cat with the tag “Oh no. I’m lost as fuck. Again. Call my mom” was hanging out in a grocery store less than half a mile from the house. He’d been there for days and was, apparently, subsisting off of cooked pasta the owner had given him. Needless to say, we were happy to have him home (even though he sustained a neck wound from some unknown dog fight that has since been treated). I did, eventually, tell Gizem that Mucha went full There and Back Again. She was happy to know he was home, too.
After a pleasant 4th of July on top of Fort Hill with Lark, Brennan, and Theresa, we all find ourselves “adjusting” to the sullen summer heat. We are currently waging war with the air conditioners (a luxury that I am so, so, so thankful for), which means that a lot of time is being spent together in the kitchen. We are coping to a life with Michael on the road as he starts a new professional chapter, as well as dealing with Theresa’s absence, who is gone for a few days in Chicago at a bomb ass conference where she will give a presentation (good luck!). Summers, inevitably, are markers of change. Tomorrow will be Lark’s last dinner with us for awhile. It is bittersweet, of course, but pleasing to know that she will return someday soon. I guess what makes the Bond House special, at least to me, is knowing that your physical absence does not equate to an actual absence.
As I write this, my bedroom door is open and I am listening to the kitchen conversation. Dinner is being put away. Josephina is candying some orange slices (peels courtesy of Elzerie’s citrus habit). Bennett, that plucky 21-year-old, is playing with my dog. Everyone is laughing. Everything is at peace. I am at peace. Things are good. We are all full of those summertime feelings.