Thursday, August 7, 2014

Moving Day - A Short Story

I looked around on final time, but the house was empty.  Actually, that's wasn't true - it may have ben empty of "stuff," but the memories were still here.  In the family room, there was that slightly cracked electrical socket where Winnie had spun around and gotten so dizzy she fell and hit her head.  It wasn't a hard hit, but it was enough to split the plastic where her head struck.

We'd painted over that scrap mark on the wall from where Harriet and I pulled the crib upstairs and into our new daughter's room.  We loved Winnie and thought for a while that she would be it, but then Amy made an unexpected appearance in our lives, so we uncovered the old crib from the garage and got it to where it needed to be.  That day had been such a pain in the ass, but some paint and a little spackle had taken care of any physical evidence of the hassle.

Staring out of the window, I wondered if the new owners would be able to repair the discolored spot in the grass.  It wasn't a big spot, but it was ample evidence that our dog Rocky liked to use it as a bathroom.  Rocky passed on last year, and we weren't yet at a place where we could get a new member of the family, but physical memories of that crazy German Shepherd still lingered.  He'd been a great animal, if a bit rambunctious, yet now that discolored spot was all we had left of him.

A new job meant new adventures, but mostly it meant a new town and a new house.  We were lucky to find such a great place in Atlanta, but leaving Richmond was harder than I thought.  So much of our lives had occurred here.  Winnie wasn't yet two when we got here, and now she was a budding girl of 9 going on 16.  It was at her insistence that we hung that new swing on the oak tree, just as it was at our insistence she stop using it three months ago because the branch was starting to sag under her weight.

Our first house out of college.  Apartments were all we knew prior, and while they were nice, nothing made you feel "home" like a house, a house you could repaint and alter to fit the way you wanted to live.  This one had its quirks - nowhere was absolutely perfect, and anyone who says otherwise is either naïve or delusional - but it was ours.  Funny how a physical structure of bricks and mortar could hold such a place in your heart.

Now circumstances dictated we move our heart elsewhere.  It reminded me a little of my first breakup.  Her name was Nikki, and we were both 15.  We swore we'd be together forever, as many 15 year olds do, but things changed.  There was little bitterness at moving on, but it still felt sad, for a piece of my innocence was leaving me.

And innocence was what I'd come to associate with this house.  We'd never owned anything as grand before; we'd only looked, much the way a teenage boy looks at girls and wonders what having a girlfriend would be like.  Now that Harriet and I owned this place, we discovered everything, good and bad, that went with it.  We'd put in so much effort, and now it felt like someone else would benefit from that effort.

Sure, our new house was bigger, and there'd be new stories to be written there, but it wouldn't be the same.  Amy was nearly past pulling things from the cabinets, so that memory would stay here.  The night the power was out due to the electrical storm would stay here as well(our new house had solar power and a backup generator).  Simply pretending so we could have a dinner of Peanut Butter Sandwiches wouldn't be the same.

The horn blared from the EZ Move rental truck.  "Hey, goofy!"  Harriet called.  "You coming?"

Looking over my shoulder, I smiled at her.  "Yeah, I'm coming."

I turned without another glance and walked down the front walkway to the truck.  The memories would remain.  I hoped that we could build new ones just as strong, but they'd be different memories.  In my heart, it felt like I was leaving a piece of myself in this old house.  Part of me feels like that's a silly way to look at a physical structure, but the rest of me knows that memories build our lives, and memories is what this place gave us in spades.

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