Wave Goodbye and Say Hello

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Last Monday, home did not feel like home.  Yet.  I was still pining for our old apartment, for the life we had grown there, and for all the little and big memories and moments.

This past weekend, we finally cleaned out the rest of our crap from the old apartment.  Or, actually, to be precise, my awesome husband cleaned out the rest of our crap.  All the boxes of flotsam and jetsam in the basement are now stacked in our new basement, and in our garage, having been shuttled over in about a dozen trips.  He did this while I was grocery shopping with Emily.  We came home from shopping, and he let me know he had handed in his keys to our old landlord, and I would need to do the same.

During Emily’s afternoon nap, I went over there to give up the keys and say goodbye.  I drove up to the old apartment with a pit in my stomach, not sure what to feel or think.

I walked in, pulling my former keys off the ring, and ran into our landlord.  I handed over my keys and the garage door opener without thinking about it, not wanting to make any sort of moment about it.  We chatted for a few, and he let me walk through the house I’d entered thousands of times without needing permission or invitation from anyone.

It was in the process of being painted, so everything was covered in a thin but bright, white coat of primer.  It was sterile.  All traces of our mess and noise and joy and frustration was wiped away.  There were paint chips and drop cloths on the floor where once there were clumps of cat hair, toys, and books.  I walked through each room with my landlord following behind me, not leaving me any time or space for a private moment.

This is it, I thought.

It felt strange, but it didn’t feel awful, not exactly.  I realized our home wasn’t there any longer.

We had moved.

That statement may seem like, Uh, DUH Charlotte!  You’ve been writing and ruminating about this for the past month.  How was that a surprise to you?  

I dunno.

Maybe I’m just a bit slow sometimes.

I poked around our space in the basement for a moment, marveling at the fact my husband had removed all traces of our crap we had been piling up down there over the past eight and a half years.  The baby gear.  The boxes from our wedding china.  The outgrown toys, maternity clothes, and musky books.

All that remained was an old area rug that used to be in Jack’s room.  My husband had opened it up and left it on the floor.  It had masking tape lines all over it that Jack had made to denote roads and parking spaces.

By the time I got back upstairs, my landlord had gone out to work on a project in the garage.  I stepped back into the apartment for a moment and snapped a picture of the view out the living room window, facing the bay.

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How many times had I stood at that window with a sleepy, sleepless, or sick baby in my arms, staring at the water?  How many sunrises had I watched, nursing on the couch?  How many nights had I come out and peeked out that window when I could not sleep and needed a change of scenery?

I loved that view, even though it was not really all that posh what with the power lines and other houses in the way.  I loved that for a brief period of time in our lives we could say we had a view of the water out our living room window–  an experience we will likely not be able to afford ever again.

Taking my phone out of my pocket, I snapped a quick shot from the window sill.  It was an act that felt like I was stealing, or violating someone’s privacy.  I hurried to put the phone back in my pocket and walked out of the apartment, shutting the door behind me.

“See you later!” I shouted to the landlord.

And then I drove the one mile home.

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