It ain’t over til the cat lady sings

May 13, 2016

Every night when I crawl into bed I close my eyes and pretend I’m in my old room at the beach.

I don’t think this is healthy.

I don’t care.

Three months ago I cleaned my way out the back door, stood up and paused with my hand on the knob. I couldn’t bring myself to do it and sat back down, staring into the empty kitchen. How did this happen? I knew when I stood up it would be the last time I’d ever close the door. I wasn’t ready. Instead I turned around and stared at the empty deck, the formerly plant-filled sanctuary I’d poured so much of my time, energy and love into. My heart sunk. Deep breath in, deep breath out.

You have a whole house!
My drunk neighbor Laurie pulling her car into the open moving pod someone left blocking our garage
You have a soaker tub!
“Carrie the police are on their way and I’m going to need you to talk to them because I’ve had some wine.”
You have a big yard! 
Monkey and Lil sunbathing under the chairs, the time she got hit by a car on my birthday and I slept by her crate in the living room for two months.

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The bobblehead guys and their garbage can find garage sales. Hanging Christmas lights on the palm trees. The ripped guy who tore through the walkway and rode off on Chris’s rusted out (but cool as hell) Schwinn. My first big furniture delivery. The time the bomb squad showed up to talk down the mentally deranged neighbor threatening to blow up his clogged toilet with a plastic gun. How was Laurie supposed to know it was plastic?  The day Frank appeared after my stroke and refused to leave.

The memories crashed around in my brain. My brain. My poor brain that met its near end in that house. My brain that made its way back from the edge in that house. Why was I saying that house? I meant this house, the one I was sitting outside of, unwilling to say goodbye. Would my brain stay behind, not ready to leave home?

I choked back the lump in my throat.

Change is hard, man, change is hard.

I took a final look before turning and closing the door, softly, one last time. When I rounded the corner at the bottom of the stairs, the cat across the street ran over to say hi. I reached down to scratch him behind the ear and whispered, “I’m sorry buddy I won’t be coming back, I don’t live here anymore.”

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  • Reply Jenn May 17, 2016 at 4:08 am

    I’ve JUST started getting those “home” vibes in the current house. Pangs, but it’s a start. What we’ve seen of your new place looks amazing, hopefully the vibes line up and it will feel like a sanctuary sooner rather than later.

    • Reply This Free Bird May 17, 2016 at 4:14 pm

      Oh man, what you said. And I love how your new place is coming along, but let me tell you that at first (from afar) I totally understood why you were traumatized. Your old place on the creek was magical…but now that you’re getting settled I see all the great qualities emerging in the new place, too. Am I rambling? Probably. Here’s hoping this house ‘speaks’ to me and tells me wth to do in the bedroom because I’m at a loss. Haha!

  • Reply lena May 13, 2016 at 1:38 pm

    When I’m having trouble sleeping, I imagine I’m in our SF apartment and the ocean is just a few blocks away. Here’s hoping we make new homes just as soothing and safe as our old ones.

    • Reply This Free Bird May 13, 2016 at 5:19 pm

      I get it, I GET IT! Hearing that makes me feel better, thank you for the camaraderie. And yes, here’s to new memories in our new homes 🙂

  • Reply missgiven May 13, 2016 at 12:52 pm

    I have only ever really regretted leaving one house. It was our ranch style house in Georgia on one acre.

    • Reply This Free Bird May 13, 2016 at 5:17 pm

      This is the second time for me and man does it sting. Last time it took three years to get over it which, coincidentally, was when I moved BACK to the beach and into the place I just left. One thing about this move though, the landlord sold the place so there was no choice.There is some comfort in that knowing the universe pushed me on.

  • Reply Courtney May 13, 2016 at 5:11 am

    God, this takes me back to my bittersweet last night in New Haven and our well loved home (and, while dismantling an air conditioner at 2 am my cat escaped, resulting in 2 hours of searching before he showed up at another window demanding to be let in at 5 am, all before getting up at 7 am to hit the road for Edmonton in a UHaul).

    • Reply This Free Bird May 13, 2016 at 5:13 pm

      That sounds like utter hell! And trust a cat to add fuel to the fire.

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