HO meaning, home office. Mine is evolving. It has been so over the years.
My first HO was a little corner in my grandmother's apartment in Marulas, Valenzuela. I was fourteen, maybe fifteen. Tiny space, really. It span the entire width of my study table. Behind my seat was a vanity dresser which housed more dust than cosmetics -- I had not been too fond of prettifying then. To my left was a tall narrow window overlooking the window of the neighbor in the unit across. But that window was almost always closed, anyway. The neighbors played music that was too loud, to the ears and to the sensibilities.
It was that way until I was seventeen, until the first semester of my freshman year in college.
And then I stopped schooling, and my world turned upside down. I moved into John's parent's house, into John's room, and he moved into my life. Space became scarce. The Self was drowned by one, and then two, three, four, five other warm bodies. I was slaving to be the ideal family woman. It seemed wrong to wish even for my one tiny corner.
Many years would pass before that longing would be recognized, much less acted upon.It would take a bruised spirit and the embryonic stages of a desire to flee. I would have to feign a bad back and complain of a terrible mattress and a too-cold air conditioning unit.
In the beginning, the partitions wree mere bookshelves. Then, makeshift curtains. Eventually i moved into an unoccupied little room of that big house. It was amazing that the space had become considerably bigger - twice, thrice the size -- and yet I still felt cramped. Uninspired. Unprolific. Lethargic, at times. It took me another couple of years to figure out that my HO was still failing to serve its purpose because it was sitting on the wrong location.
Now my HO stands to the left of the main door of my own home. There are no bookshelves or other crazy partitions from the rest of the house.
I now have an executive swivel chair, the one with the high back, tiltable, and with arm rests.
I also have an L-shaped table, on top of which sits a worn-out laptop (soon there will be a better one!), a lamp, my survival books (The Elements of Style, English Idioms, Word Power). There is a big calendar on which I write down all my expenses for the day. On the corner are the envelopes containing all the stuff I'd written and have yet to organize. On the wall is a clipping of the piece I had published about my mom. I am reserving a few square inches for something I intend to put up once I print all my pictures in Germany. I shall call it my Wanderlust Wall.
And yes, there is a window again to my left. It is framed by pretty powder-blue curtains. The windows are always open this time, all during my waking hours. and then i can see the altis of my landlady,. the green gate of teh compound, the children's school across the street. from where I sit, the the air is free to come in from the front window to the back. Grace comes and goes. And comes again.