Writing Pieces

Empty House

By October 14, 2019March 29th, 2020One Comment

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.

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