“I used to dream about escaping my ordinary life, but my life was never ordinary. I had simply failed to notice how extraordinary it was.” ― Ransom Riggs,
I stepped into the empty house, and stood in the hallway for a second, trying to gauge how the house felt. Did it feel like it could be home? Had people been happy here? Did I feel welcomed? Did I feel like this house could give me the new beginning I so desperately needed, and that I’d worked so hard for?
I wouldn’t call that – that vibe that buildings give you – a soul, but it’s close. I remember walking into an abandoned church in my teens and not wanting to leave; I remember pressing my hands into the floor, and leaning my head against the cool paint-chipped walls. ‘What are you doing?’ my grandfather had asked, standing in the doorway, not coming in, eager to be on his way. I was keeping him behind, but then I always linger when I fall in love, and I was falling in love with that building in that second. ‘Can’t you feel it?’ I remember saying. ‘The walls are full of prayer.’
Back to the present, I walked through the empty house followed by the man from the real estate place. He was reeling off the various benefits of the place, how big the kitchen was, how I had a walk-in pantry, which was such a luxury, the high ceilings that assured cool days when the sun was high, and pointed to the windows, the peace and quiet, the fact that it was only ten minutes away from the beach, and the rent, the wonderfully affordable rent. I stopped listening; standing in the living room, I was getting a feel for the place, and I liked what I felt. ‘People have been happy here’, I thought.
Two weeks later, I moved again. This time it was just me and the cats, minus Wellington, and my possessions. I’ve had things in storage around the city, and they were all scheduled to arrive on the same day as well. It was an exhausting, but also a highly emotional day. When you haven’t seen your things in three years, you forget what you own, and it’s like meeting old friends again. Furniture arrived; my beloved desk I haven’t sat at in too long; the couch, encased in sheeting and plastic; the fridge that I thought I sold, but I guess I forgot to, and that amazingly still works.
I’m not really unpacked yet; I’ve still got cardboard boxes, and yes, most of them are books. But my kitchen is completely unpacked, and it’s amazing, even if the oven needs some work done on it, because it’s not working right now. I have a big kitchen again, and I’ve already cooked myself some amazing meals. My cats are wonderfully happy here. I converted the biggest bedroom into a study, where I spend most of my time, and the smaller bedroom is my sanctuary. I set the television up, and I got cable. I’ve already written some good things in this house, and I’m looking forward to adding my own happy memories to the vibe.
It’s been a hellish year, and an exhausting one, but somewhere in the middle of it all, I went home.