I was traveling on a familiar route yesterday and I was shaking. NYS Thruway- Garden State Parkway on autopilot. I was going home. I couldn’t remember the last time I was back in our Paramus home by myself and I worried. I had pledged that I would never go back there again. But here I was on familiar roads, now close to our exit- 165 Ridgewood/Oradell, my car was flying.
As I came off the exit and stopped at our intersection I thought as I looked over at the house, I could see a car in the driveway. I didn’t want to meet up with potential buyers. I didn’t want to make small talk about our life there.
No cars in the driveway. Just a small For Sale sign- classy, subtile. Relief. I bounded out of the car, up the porch steps and as I tried opening the front door with your key that still lives on my key ring,( I”m not ready to move it off and into the junk drawer) I realized that the top lock needed opening, of course.
Inside the cool darkness of the foyer, I took a deep breath of you, still there. But this was not a mourning house anymore. I walked up the steps, scanned the living room, with the open space where the new TV once lived, now at my place. I walked through the dining room, out on to the porch. Empty flower boxes without your insistence to fill them with geraniums even before Mother’s Day. I couldn’t sit.
Back in the kitchen, your Soda Stream from Ami, next to the kitchen TV, was waiting for me. I sat down, took a breath, shut my eyes and sadly remembered the last time you sat in the same chair. I didn’t sit long. I couldn’t let myself be tortured.
I was up and moving through the bathroom, the bedrooms. Eyeing the changes made for potential buyers. In our bedroom, the new bedding was out just as I had left it. Should I take some of the pillows with me? No, I had enough on my bed at my place. This bedding served its purpose, Freeing me months ago to get off the LazyBoy and return to our bed with freshness.Now they reminded me of my mourning months of sadness. I had to leave them behind.
One last turn in the kitchen. I remembered to take your small white salad plates that we bought together at Bed, Bath and Beyond, a large unopened bottle of cranberry juice and your calendar on the refrigerator, still on to last August, the last month you had any need to update it. Your calendar that kept you anchored in life as you started to slide into forgeting, that I needed to hold onto as a document of you.
Just an hour, and I had to push myself down the stairs and out, back into my car and onto the Mazda dealer to take care of my brakes. I didn’t want to leave the you in our house, but I had to.
Soon I was engaged with Pat at Mazda, happily distracted and once I was in the waiting room, I thought about how good it was to have taken on my house ghosts.
I conquered Tuv R, wrapped in a layer of you with me always.