The movers came. The movers left. The house was empty.
This was not a sad leaving. Particularly.
We were building a house a few miles away. We were relocating. Not moving.
Nonetheless the move stopped me.
I leaned on the wall looking into the living room. Where there had been a safe and tidy nest, there was now nothing.
If I squinted my eyes, I could see blurry visions of half full wine glasses. Embers from a January fire. Sunday morning tea, the Times and a wooly blue throw.
Friends drifting through. Grandchildren tumbling through. Dogs careening through.
I could see my friend Toni dancing on one of my birthdays. Hopping up on the hearth and doing a routine from her days as a Stanford cheerleader. A Dolly. She is gone now.
A silent gathering in the kitchen after my son’s memorial. His friends from college. Floating. No one knowing what to do. What to say.
My friend and I sitting on the floor of the bedroom looking through his pictures. Mute.
My daughter lying under a Christmas tree she had singlehandedly cut, now attempting to put it up. Make it straight.
Me, sitting at the kitchen counter, unaware of time, looking at my computer on a Tuesday morning. In my pink robe.
Birthdays. Anniversaries. Grilling steaks in March. Roasting new red potatoes in spring. Designing my first “salmon en papillote”.
Forever troubled by letting go, I didn’t want to save all that I did save. The baby dishes with the divided sections occupied by a painted rabbit or raccoon. The lumpy pottery bowls that Sam and Lily crafted in third grade. A green sippy cup. A picture book from a trip to Croatia that Sam had dedicated to me. Books I thought I might read one day. Photos that marked the passage of time.
Laughter. Sadness. Grief. Disbelief.
It was all there. Life over a decade of years
What was I experiencing as I leaned against that wall?
A desire to remember? A desire to never forget.
I know that is not possible.
Over the years ahead only snippets of memory will remain. Tendrils of what has happened here. I know this to be true.
We will go on to another house. And maybe another.
The movers will come. The movers will go.
And I will stand again and look at an empty room.