My life is in that liminal space where you are trying to remove all of your personal effects to sell a house, while also trying to integrate an entire existing house into another entire existing house, without bending the rules of physics.
And moving this box of say, kitchen stuff, means you have to move some stuff from his kitchen into his basement and the basement isn’t built yet. And there’s that set of boxes in his closet, which need to be moved so that I can move in my clothing, but we can’t put them in the basement, because, well, basement.
Also, my office is going in the basement and since it’s not built, my office at his house is cunningly disguised as the kitchen table. You might think I could come to this house and work, except for the fact it’s quite a hike, but more than that, enough of my stuff is at his house that this house feels weird and empty. I have too many houses while also having no home.
There’s also this weird thing about what I bring to the other house, in what order (even things which aren’t waiting on the basement). I find myself thinking that I will move this thing or that thing when I’m “fully living at the other house”, with no idea of how I will know when that happens. I mean, obviously, I will have done this when my house is sold and I have moved in to his house; but surely we all realize we are heading toward a recursive loop. The cats are at his house, Gracie comes back and forth and I feel a sense of guilt that I leave Gabe’s ashes here, although their permanent home is meant to be in my office downstairs at the his house (the basement, again)
So, I plink away at repainting walls and packing stuff and sorting and donating, with still only the vaguest ideas of what comes next and when, although I have taken time off in May, with some idea of using that time to move and unpack.
There are lots of reasons why May, but mostly because I think May is a cataclysm of memories in this house – my mother and I in the garden, Gabe’s tree with leaves, the roses we planted for the family.
May is when I am forced to remember that I am leaving a house, a house which is a place and a connection. I will leave Maggie and Delta and Coda and Toby and Missy, buried under Gabe’s tree. I will leave the walls that my mum painted, the dining room ceiling we installed while I was pregnant. I will leave the front porch on which I have hugged so many people hello and goodbye. I will leave the newel post I leaned my head against the first time I came back into this house as a single woman. I will leave a place that I can touch and be connected to people I cannot touch.
And you can tell me that those are memories and you can take them anywhere; I will say that I know this better than most. But memories have a location. They have a place and that place is a way to keep our memories anchored. When we have to say goodbye to people, whether we want to or not, a place is a way of holding on more tightly to the memories because we are still connected, even just a little bit.
These walls will be closed off from me and I will be disconnected just a bit more.
I do not regret my decision, not for a second, but a lack of regret isn’t quite the same as knowing the decision’s cost and feeling it.
So, out before the start of May, before my garden wakes up, before my courage runs out.