I am fairly certain that I lived several lifetimes in the past twenty-four hours. I’m writing this from my living room floor, sitting on a sleeping bag and using an empty cable box as a desk. I just slayed a spider the size of a walnut, and am drinking tap water out of an empty CVS earplug container, because I forgot to bring cups and there is no way I am driving over to Target until I return that damn trailer, because backing up a trailer in a Target parking lot sounds like a bad idea for anyone, and especially someone who just drove seven hours with two furious cats and a comatose dog, and then “slept” (didn’t sleep) on a bed-in-a-box mattress on the floor.
Solid parking form.
On my last night in my house, the doorbell rang around 8PM. And then it rang again, and again; my friends, coming over to say goodbye. No matter how much older and theoretically wiser I get, there’s still this part of me I can’t get rid of that doesn’t believe anyone will really miss me that much, and doesn’t want to make a big fuss about the fact that I’m leaving (aside from on RG, of course; I’m obviously fussing a whoooole lot over here).
In any case, I hadn’t thought to ask anyone to come over on my last night. It didn’t even occur to me; I tend to figure people are busy with their own lives. They just came.
Of course they did.
So we sat around my dining room table and ate bite-sized Hershey’s bars, and talked about the last three years, and then they left so I could finish packing and get some sleep before my drive. After I shut the door behind them I turned and banged my knee – hard – on a box, and my eyes watered up from the pain, but of course it wasn’t about my knee at all, and of course I wasn’t just crying, I was weeping.
In the morning, I walked my kids to their school for the last time, and was all weird about it, touching the trees as I passed them, trying to notice every little thing. Then I got in the car, promised my father not to go over 50 miles an hour (and then promised him again, and again, and again), and just…left.
The drive was long, sure, but when I say it felt like several lifetimes, I mean it. First of all, I do not exaggerate when I say that my cats yowled for seven hours straight; I didn’t even know such a thing was possible, but there you go. More than that, though: there were several different people piloting that U-Haul down I-5. First I was the weeping ex-wife who couldn’t help herself, and called her husband to say she was sorry for this – for all of it, everything – and that she would miss him. After that I had a solid hour of Bangles-fueled I AM AMAZING AND I CAN DO THIS empowerment, which ended abruptly in crushing depression (thanks, Rod Stewart), necessitating a stop at McDonald’s. I spent the last leg of the trip in a state of low-grade panic, which the traffic on the 405 did nothing to help with. I pulled up to the house, got out, and the first thing that happened was that Lucy fell into the pool and had to be rescued in a joint effort by me and the guy from TaskRabbit I’d hired to help me unload my plants. I ate Moon Pies for dinner, and fed the cats using emptied-out instant rice containers.
I am so, so tired. And not a little bit scared. But I made it: I am here, in my house. My home. It is beautiful, and it is mine.
And I did it all by myself.