| story (feminine noun) | /istwaʀ/

All of my belongings fit neatly in seven cardboard boxes, and I can stack them all in the back of my boyfriend’s Peugeot.

I do not own a house, but I have many. One is made of stone. It is nestled in the Appalachian mountains and has a tin roof that sings in the rain. And there is a cottage in Normandy, where the air is sweet as sugar, and the braying donkey wakes me at dawn. It is always warm and smells of fresh-cut wood. Then there is the bright, three-bedroom apartment in rural Lorraine, where the sun dives through the windows and makes us sweat at all hours. There is so much space, but we have found a way to fill it with laughter and beer bottles and a cilantro plant on the balcony. When I cook, the halls fill with the scent of sweet onions and curry powder, and the spices make our eyes bloom fat teardrops that roll down our cheeks. And soon, I pray, I will have an apartment in Paris. It has hardwood floors and large windows that look out on a street where the sun sets just right.

I do not have children, but I have many families. Their accents, stories, and personalities are as varied as the languages they speak. They have nourished me with champagne and creamy cassoulets. They have fed me heaping plates of spiced potatoes and scrambled eggs, and we’ve shared many Sunday morning mugs of milky coffee.

And I do not own a car, not in France anyway. But that has not kept me from crossing borders. I have ridden trains, some headed in the wrong direction. And I have white-faced flown over deserts and mountains and oceans.

No, I am not married. Nor am I engaged. But I do have someone who loves me. We’ve kissed in seven different countries, and we eat at least a burger a week. He says the house feels empty when I’m gone, even if it is a little quieter…

I am twenty-six, and stability is a concept as foreign to me as cyrillic. I cannot tell you where I’ll be two weeks or two months or two years from now, but I can tell you stories. I can tell you how to pack a suitcase or navigate a metro line. And I can tell you when the lavender fields of Southern France are in bloom. I can tell you that the Adriatic Sea is as blue as cerulean and that it is full of sea urchins. And I can tell you with honesty that my life has never felt unfulfilled for lack of a permanent address.

About Gabriella

I'm a twenty-something American with a caffeine addiction and chronic wanderlust. I have been living and working in France for the past seven years, teaching students the importance of the Oxford comma and negotiating licensing rights for the Albin Michel Group. I love books and travel more than I love anything else.
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