Last updateTue, 26 Sep 2017 5pm

The empty spaces: No Shoes, Please

When I look around my home, I see signs of my husband everywhere: photos of the family to whom he is devoted, an Acosta Family crest, prints of Italian Renaissance, French Impressionist and Picasso masterpieces. I see his vision – always pointed at the horizon – in our remodeled kitchen and bathroom. The vegetable garden, the roses, the carefully tended lawn – that’s all him, too. I even see him in our appliances, every last one purchased at discounted prices with a firm adherence to both quality and value, not sacrificing one for the other.

Simply noting the material things, you hardly see me at all. The bookshelves contain a lot of me, but my stuff accounts for just over half the items resting on them. There’s a Japanese doll standing in a far corner of the house in a spot you wouldn’t notice unless you were really prowling around. And I’ll claim the family photo display, too.

But just because you can’t see me doesn’t mean I’m not there. In fact, I’m everywhere – in all the blank, unseen spaces. I’m from the “less is more” school of thought and apply it to everything: how many flowers you put in a vase, how much clothing you pack for a trip, how many back issues of a magazine you keep in the house, how much dressing for a salad. So where you can find me in the home is in the absence of clutter and knickknacks.

I’m also in floors, which are repeatedly vac- uumed (oh, that darn dog hair!) and wiped down, because I like things clean – not just looking clean, but actually being clean. And in stark contrast to my husband, who would have trouble locating the scotch-tape, I know where everything is. But if you had to find something without my assistance, you would discover that everything is kept neat and well organized, something you’d never know by just glancing around. My imprint lies literally behind closed doors: hall closets, kitchen drawers, pantry shelves.

I believe in invisible things like energy and emotion – again, just because you can’t see it doesn’t mean it’s not there. I therefore take cleanliness to the next level by burning incense or sage periodically to ensure a well-balanced energetic environment. I have no evidence that it makes any difference whatsoever, but I definitely feel better afterward. The atmosphere in my home seems more peaceful, more relaxed and somehow lighter when I’m done.

I crave emptiness: a nonexistent mess, the space along the mantel, items donated to Goodwill that my mind no longer keeps track of. I pay a lot of attention to the things you can’t see and what’s not there. That’s where my comfort and security lie.

When I walk into any room, it’s my husband’s taste and interests that grab my initial attention. It kind of reminds me of a dog marking all over the house. But that’s not a completely accurate image of our home. My husband may dominate the visual landscape, but I’m right next to him, leaving my own tracks. I’m in all the empty spaces. To find me, you have to look a little deeper.

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