There is no more important building in the world for me than Maria's Studio Barn. Our relationship began when I offered her the use of this ugly barn and she accepted, in exchange for helping me with the animals. We were both married to other people then and I saw little of her. She came very late and left early and I sat across the street wondering if I would ever see her. I did. I brought her popcorn and tea and bread and cheese there – she was gaunt and quiet, shy and tentative. As skinny as she was and is, she ate like a wolf and loved to have food brought to her. It was the first chink in her armor. It never occurred to either of us that we both were heading for divorce.
It was the thrill of my life to see her come to life in that barn, how happy she was there. Now, we dance all the time in the Studio Barn. Then I stayed away, eager to give her space and not frighten her off. In that barn, she counseled me about finding another woman, and then when she turned out to be the other woman, it was in the studio that we sat in her big old chairs and talked about our relationship, about getting together. I promised to bring joy to her life. I waited for her to love me in that barn, and I could not believe it when she did. I loved crossing the road and seeing Maria dancing to strange music on her computer, whirling around the room assembling her potholders and quilts. It's time for a new studio barn, and she is ready but when I called her this afternoon and heard her crying into the phone, I knew I had to go there and help her move. This was her last day there. Tomorrow we will paint the new studio and start moving in. I bought some popcorn last week.