But though I don't balk at wandering through the house and moving every single painting, for the most part I draw the line at moving furniture. Because our living room is longer than wide, the current furniture arrangement was a necessity. That was a no-brainer after having seen what the renters had done to it: the sofa and chairs all sat with their backs to the wall, leaving a huge empty space in the middle; there wasn’t a conversational grouping to be found. You imagined having to yell back and forth. That was the first thing to be addressed once we had redone the floors and the walls. It was an extremely hot summer and we still wouldn't have a/c for another thirty years. By the time we had placed the sofa to address the fireplace from the middle of the room, we had been reduced to a pair of wet rags, so we must have made some sort of tacit agreement that it would stay here and so it has. So has everything, actually. There is only one occasional chair which moves around and Jon inevitably complains.
He would have had more to complain about in the house I grew up in. My mom had no such compunctions about predictable domestic geography. Dad and I would arrive home in the evening to find everything but the piano in a different spot. (For some reason Mom never moved paintings either. I suppose that was in line with our being mirror-twins of one another — both with scoliosis but on different sides, and one left-handed, the other right). And to be fair she exorcised her furniture habit only during the day so it was relatively safe to walk through the dark house at night.
One of my English professors, Bob Stewart, was blind, so his whole life was something of a dark house. He was handsome, had a touch of a southern accent which did no harm when teaching American lit, and went everywhere with Yutte, his German Shepherd guide dog. When he asked me out, I accepted readily. We met at his apartment and walked together to see The Barber of Seville at the Playhouse. It didn’t immediately strike me that I was standing in for Yutte that night but after walking Bob into a guy wire, I smartened up and we got there and back without a fatality. At the apartment was a supper of pre-cooked frozen food to reheat. I insisted on helping with the dishes.
A month later, Bob let it casually drop that it had taken him weeks to locate his kitchen utensils. Yutte had no serious competition.
Our shaded house is not nearly as well organized as Bob’s apartment was so we misplace things all the time. The worst offender is Jon’s beloved Hardy fishing cap, which demands semi-weekly searches because it could and does turn up anywhere and Jon can’t imagine life without it. My most highly-motivated searches usually involve paintings. Because they go up and down according to the season and my mood, I often don’t miss something for months. Suddenly, as Sherlock would say, “The Game is On!” More than once after an anguished two-day hunt, I realize that it has been hiding in full sight and I think “Time to move that one! Wallpaper!”
Even if I remember that the painting is in fact gone and now living with someone else, it is a lovely feeling to walk into that home and see one of your exes on the wall. Kismet all over again.