Just sometimes, it hits me. This place had a long history before us, has a long future after us. I keep thinking it’s a part of our lives, but, really, it’s the reverse.
For a little while…I don’t know.
It’s like we’re a part of its life.
Down the block from my new apartment, is the house that I lived in for 20 years. On and off the last few years, but I was the last one living there when it finally sold.
I didn’t want to lose it. I did everything in my power to keep that house around, some way, somehow. All to no avail. As of May, I no longer had any right even to set foot on the property, much less go inside.
Because I still live so close to the – no longer my – house, I have to drive near it pretty much every day. And every time, I would cry. It was so unfair. That was my house. How could the new owners love it the way I did?
It was made slightly less awful by the fact that the house was pretty still. I never saw anyone around. Shades were drawn; all was quiet. Maybe it was all a joke. Somehow, something would happen to restore the proper balance and give me my house back.
Then one day, I passed by and the shades were up. From the street, plain as day, was the living room. It looked completely different.
Not mine anymore.
I got bitter. Resentful. Who were these people, and how dare they live in my house? Why would they change it? Now I could never go home!
So I cried. Of course. And I knew I wasn’t being reasonable. Few things about my emotions toward losing that house have been reasonable. I didn’t care. I wanted my house back. I wanted to just park my car the way I had thousands of times, walk up the porch steps, avoiding that one broken brick, go inside, and see my family.
‘Course, my family isn’t there anymore. My brother Robb had moved out a year earlier when he got married. My father and Eric had been in Colorado for almost six months; my mother, sister, and brother Sasha just a bit less.
When my house was finally sold and passed over to this new couple, it hadn’t been “home” in some time. The rooms were unoccupied; the yard went unused. Even home cooking smelled lonely, because it was my cooking, not my mom’s.
I remembered what my house was like before all that, when I was growing up. So many Thanksgivings, Christmases, sleepover parties, adolescent and not-so-adolescent drama. That house was a haven for me for so long. Was I going to begrudge that to someone else?
Wasn’t it more fitting that a young couple planning to have kids should live in this house now? Wouldn’t I want those rooms as bright, sunny, and new for the new people, as they had been for me? Did I really want the house for myself, or did I want to hold onto something that had been long-since gone, just so no one else could have it?
I might always miss the big yellow house with the awesome porch swing. I will definitely always miss having my family under one roof, so close by.
But now it’s time to let it go. To let other people be a part of that house’s life.
“avoiding that one broken brick, go inside, and see my family….” – Ahh…nice touch with the broken brick – so specific and I get it. My house had a cracked corner as you entered the backyard, and of course…handprints in cement. I’m glad you learned to let go of your resentment, and let other people “be a part of that house”s life”, the memories you have still real. Really good read Judi.
🙂 Thank you Josh.
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