Monthly Archives: July 2011

au revoir, apartment

most belongings were moved to the house already, save the small random things that get cleared out of the way or left behind due to lack of significance. all i had left to do was to clean. vacuum, mop the floors, check all the cabinets and the dryer for the 57th time just to be sure nothing was forgotten. between the summer heat and the tasks at hand, driving distance, and exhaustion, the last thing i wanted to do was make numerous trips up and down the stairs and across the lawn to the trunk and passenger seats of the car and clean during the little time i had between shifts and getting the kids from here to there with full tummies and clean faces.
that last day, i set out determined to clear out the last belongings and be done with the apartment. but as i begun to set about vacating officially, i couldn’t help but notice the overbearing feeling of familiarity that clung to me no matter what i did. i parked in my assigned space and climbed those oh so familiar stairs. i had long ago ceased to count them to avoid misstepping at the landing as my feet knew how many were there. my hand knew just where to reach for the door. as i walked in, i reached to hang my keys on the hook that i’d removed weeks ago. i could even still see the boys’ beds in their room with their toys strewn absolutely everywhere.
when i was in fifth grade, we went spelunking in the peppersauce caves at the triangle y camp with a teacher named mrs. czachor. in the middle of the cave, she had everyone switch off their flashlight. as we sat there in total darkness, silent together, she asked us to hold our hands out in front of our faces. she asked if anyone could see their hand. many students responded that they could, in fact, still see it. i could hear her smiling as she said. “No you can’t. It’s just your brain remembering what your hand looks like.”
i felt that same violation as i looked around the apartment. it was like everything that should be there still was. my feet knew just where to step, where to turn, just where to reach. i could still see all the pictures on the walls and i could even hear the dogs in their kennels in the kitchen even though they were at the house.
i tried to hurry through the apartment and get everything put away in what i had left to carry it in and wiped everything down. as the floor and counters got clearer, so did this sadness. and feelings of abandonment and fear. everything that was missing was everything that made the apartment a home and while it wasn’t lost forever, the part of me that made it was. the people that shared that space with me and fortified it with memories would never be there again. it was scary to let go of the persona of the girl who rented that apartment. it was a safe place for me and my children and we were happy there. even though we outgrew it, i was happy and very proud to call it my home. more than anything, i hated locking the door for the last time. to that effect, i also hated handing the keys over to the brand new shining face in the ever evolving office staff.
perhaps what i disliked was not having a place to show for my history. i like having stories to tell about where i’ve come from and what i’ve done. maybe my reader would suggest that the last day was bittersweet, as i moved to a bigger and better space where the discomforts of apartment living (such as someone stealing my sponge mop from the front porch!) do not follow. for the moment, however, i do not have the patience to build such memories in the house. it will take more time to let go and relax and become acquianted with these walls. i am beginning to be inspired by the shapes and sizes of these rooms at last and the road to home feels like it may be just down the way.
for now i am caught narrowly missing walls and stretching my mind’s eye to its fullest extent to remember where the scissors could possibly be. i am trying to find a good place for each framed photo and work of art. in time, this house will be the easy chair that fits like a glove. and it’ll last.