When my marriage of twenty-one years came to the death throes of its legal ending, I scrimped and saved for a new mattress. This morning, nearly fifteen years later, I lay in bed until the unheard-of time of 7:30. I will sleep on that mattress only three more nights. It is long past its useful life; a new one sits in a box downstairs. I will instruct the movers to leave the old one behind, to be hauled away. The one in the unopened box will be driven to my new home on Thursday, set up in my new bedroom, and made ready for me to lay down my head at the end of the day when I will move from my home of thirty-two years.
I took out a lease on my new apartment nearly a month ago. Each week I visit it, at least once. I walk through the rooms and plan my furniture arrangements. I take measurements here and there, but I never write them down and don’t remember them later. Often I simply stand in each of the rooms, one at a time, and drink in the quality of the sound. Filmmakers always record this: the sound quality in each room when no one is speaking and nothing is happening, because each room is completely unique.
Sometimes when I walk into my empty apartment, I hate it. What was I thinking? I ask myself. I want to fall on the floor and cry. I go through machinations in my head to determine if it’s too late to change my mind. Other times I walk in and I am nearly overwhelmed with the lovely, homey charm that told me this assortment of rooms could be a home, a real and true home, for me.
I lay on my old mattress this morning listening to a rain so gentle, I had to work to hear the fine drops land. I listened to the birds’ joyful songs, the ridiculously loud ones and the more restrained, for a very long time.
I walked through the door of this dearly-loved house with a new baby in my arms and the entire life of a family ahead of me. After thirty-two years, there are many times when I ask myself if my body will know how to breathe in a different place, if my eyes will cease to see, to make sense of things, when the views out my windows are entirely foreign and not the views have been a constant through the whole arc of a life lived.
In three nights, a new chapter begins.
5 Replies to “Three More Nights”
Hey, Barb. I really have gone through exactly this experience just over 3 years ago. The terror, the disbelief, the what-was-I-thinking slammed up against this-is-perfect. And at first, when you move around in the apartment you’ll look for things and visualize exactly where they were in your house. And you’ll be startled and disoriented when you wake up in the new bedroom on the new mattress. What I can tell you is this: your new place will feel like home sooner than you imagine. Every new piece of furniture, every new arrangement of art /family pictures and every new occasion with family and friends, every meal you cook in the new place nudges you along and unless you fight it, it just flows that way. In the end, the house of 32 years, holding so many memories, is just a house. A chapter, not a conclusion. Really. It’ll happen. XX
Thank you, dear friend.
Beautiful. Very similar to when I left Woodstock 15 years ago. It’s grief..and skin shedding….to hope again.
This is absolutely beautiful…brought tears to my eyes. I am feeling many of the same feelings…it is absolutely terrifying and sad and exhilarating at the same time. I can’t imagine not visiting you in that house…so many memories there. It’s like closing a door but opening an exciting new one at the same time. Looking forward to visiting you and making some new memories.
Oh my. This is a big deal (that you will get through).
I’d pour you a cup of tea if I were there. Wishing you all the best.