html xmlns="" xml:lang="en" lang="en"> From the archives: You should have seen it.

Tuesday, November 13, 2007

You should have seen it.

Anthony told me one time that my house looks like my soul. I want that to be true, but even if it isn't, that's what this move feels like. Like I'm being ripped apart from my soul. This is melodramatic and ridiculous. On the scale of human problems, 'voluntary move to beautiful neighboring city into adorable house with great sister and perfect nephews' doesn't really rate. But leaving my house, oh. I can barely tell you. I stand in the center of each room, swaying and sobbing, hands clasped and curled under my neck. There is now a small finite number times that I will ride my bike home from work and by the time I've turned onto my street, tears are streaming down my face. Three blocks later I get to my house and have to prepare myself to lift my bike up the steps without folding over or staggering from the sobs. My neighbor is going to think I'm dying. I've cried so much in the past couple days.

I can't figure out what is really going on. Surely there must be something deeper, that leaving my house should hurt like this. I keep trying on theories, and they don't ring true. I ran one by Margie. "Maybe I don't want to go because it feels like I failed Sacramento." "Dude," said Margie. "Sacramento failed you." Chris pointed out that neither of those are true. Chris suggested that maybe I don't want strangers living in my house, but that isn't it. The renting guy is, like, a best friend of a best friend. I've heard about him for fifteen years. Besides, I love knowing that my house is sheltering people and taking care of them. And they've been all nice and solicitous about me. So, not that. I'm not mourning my unfinished life here; my life in this house has been good but stagnant for years. The high priority stuff got finished.

No, the closest I come is when I look around my house and think "it is so beautiful." It is. It is such a pretty little bungalow. From the sidewalk, you see through my open front door and big wide windows to bright warm colors. It has plants and red couches and a burnished wood floor and matching old light fixtures. It isn't a shy house. It wants you to come in and be comfortable. I've moved the furniture in every way I thought people would like, parties for five and thirty and a hundred, circles of people eating in my living room. It is a little house, but it was never too small. I lived in every room, with no neglected hollow spaces. I walk through it in the dark, easy as day. I never felt unsafe here, crazy people on the sidewalk or no. I love the house itself, in every dimension.

Chris asked if I wanted to undo my decision. I don't. I want change, and I have to do new things if I want different outcomes. Like I said, when I'm in Oakland, I really like it. I'm excited for my new room, to see what my next self will look like. I sortof love choosing my few favorite things from here, for a distilled version of me there. But oh lord. What I would bring, if such a thing were possible, is my house. I loved living in the spaces and color and feel of it. I love my house.


Blogger billoo said...

Only part of us is sane: only part of us loves pleasure and the longer day of happiness, wants to live to our nineties and die in peace, in a house that we built, that shall shelter those who come after us. The other half of us is nearly mad. It prefers the disagreeable to the agreeable, loves pain and its darker night despair, and wants to die in a catastrophe that will set back life to its beginnings and leave nothing of our house save its blackened foundations.

------Rebecca West, Black Lamb, Grey Falcon

12:41 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I hope for the best for you in Oakland. -K.

7:27 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Show, don't tell!

8:56 AM  
Blogger Megan said...


9:27 AM  
Blogger Tom said...

Wow, that is pretty evocative, billoo. A good excerpt.

9:30 AM  
Blogger Megan said...

I know! That was lovely, Billo.

9:42 AM  
Blogger fasolamatt said...

Apropos of nothing:

9:42 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

for what it's worth - I'm moving to Seattle in February.

12:56 PM  
Blogger susan said...

The next time I call a place "home" I want to really mean it. No more of these shallow, meaningless relationships with dwellings. You get to a point in your life when you realize you need more from a living space than just some half-decent shelter and the occasional really good protection from wind and rain. What you have with your Sac house, that's a really beautiful thing. Something we should all aspire to, someday.

12:57 PM  
Blogger Megan said...

Congrats, Helen. It'll be great.

Susan, that's how I felt going into my house.

4:46 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Bah, a home is just some place to hide all your stuff while you're out having fun.

I do little more than sleep, shower, and eat at home.

And, didn't you get your own digital camera yet? Everyone needs a digital camera, how else will you get pictures of everything you do?


5:19 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I thought Justin was a renter?

In any case, a house is whatever you make it. I'm not very emotionally attached to my house -- then again I've only owned it for 4 years -- but now that I'm selling it to move to Australia I recognize that there are things about it I will miss.

The first time you buy a house it is an overwhelming experience. I've been told it gets easier. I don't know if that's a good thing or not. Sometimes what makes things such an experience is that they are overwhelming. I don't know if I want to live in a world where everything I do fails to overwhelm me.

9:11 AM  
Blogger Megan said...

Whoah! Australia! What part? What for?

10:44 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

What part: Anywhere I want, really. I have an independent skilled migration visa that lets me work where ever I want. Most likely Sydney, though, since I fell in love with the harbor there and it will be easiest for me to get a job there.

What for: Just cause. I've never been one to stay in one place for very long. I've been in Colorado 4 years and that's the longest I've lived in any one place.

I went through all the hassle of getting the migration visa, I figured I should finally use it before it expires.

1:08 PM  
Blogger Megan said...

I have other Sydney readers. You should hang out with them and talk about me.

2:45 PM  

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