Thursday, October 26, 2006

The house is not a home

When we got married, Guy had a house, and I had a house. Guy's house is bigger. My house is older. His house won. So I am left with this little house in a great neighborhood that I have to say goodbye to. I don't want to, but I also don't want to own it and let someone else live in it. I am far too much the control freak to be a landlord.

In 2000, I had not realized that I would leave my first husband. What I had realized was that he would never make a living and that we were spending everything we made. I talked to my granddaddy who said, "Buy a house." Sage advice, but strange advice for a couple of poor musicians.

However, my friend Boo had just bought a townhome. She was single and also a musician. I was in awe and inspired.

The market was good, a mortgage was relatively easy to get, and I did want to buy a house. I started looking in an area of the city where the homes we could afford would be old and small, but that I felt like would increase in value. It was my only plan for getting ahead in life. Plus, it was my own little piece of the planet.

Once we bought that house, things began to change. I began feeling the burden of responsibility financially and at the same time wanted to start a family. Instead of being able to start a family, I had to put my Ex through more school. To feel that mothering connection with somebody, I started fostering dogs. My Ex was home less and less and I was home more and more. When it came time to split, it didn't take either of us much time to figure out that I was staying home with the dogs, and he was moving out.

The things he took were unimportant. It was the things he left behind that have mattered.

A sack full of letters from when I lived in London.

A tiny tux from before he hit his mid 20's growth spurt.

All the grunge cd's including the Singles soundtrack.

The four track recorder.

And in a drawer that I must have opened 3 dozen times before I learned my lesson, he left a broken keychain. It was pewter; an abstract naked man and woman. It was wrapped in a note from him that talked about how he would always love me even when it wasn't easy.

I would open the drawer and then shut the drawer. A few weeks later, I would go to clean out the secretary again, open that drawer and then just shut it again.

He also left a piece of hardwood flooring. A random piece of hardwood flooring that he was going to do a home repair with. It sat in a corner in the bathroom for years. Our house, like our marriage, was never tended to or cared for and the plans my Ex always had were never completed.

My little house has had a facelift in honor of its future owners. Years of vinyl flooring has been removed and replaced with tile. There is fresh paint. New gravel has been spread on the gravel.

Guy and I have done it ourselves, together. Each tile we have laid is part of the foundation for the rest of our lives. Each repair that he and his father make brings me closer to being able to let go of the past. Each load of my belongings that leaves that little house, making it a little more empty, has me feeling more confident about where we are moving.

We are moving forward.