Today I went to the unsold house (unsold, as in undead) to do a quick clean and make sure there was nothing rotting in the refrigerator (there was). It was about a year ago that my life took some unexpected forks in the road, and moving into that house seems to represent a lot of those little twists and turns that culminated in one huge detour. Nothing happened suddenly; it feels more as if a series of crises and decisions left me in a place where there was no turning back. But when I step into that house, there is a definite before and after; a time of happiness, expectation and optimism, and then a time of uncertainty, grief and resignation. That's a lot to lay on a house; I had such high hopes. But for most of the time I lived there, I was miserable and behaved badly.
I think that's what makes me feel like crying every time I walk in. Nothing turned out the way I had planned and waited for so impatiently. I can count on one hand the number of good memories forged during the year we were there. Grace's third birthday party tops the list; I reconnected with some old friends (although that's bittersweet because some of those connections have already been lost); idyllic summer afternoons in the backyard with Grace; the few times we had friends or family visit; meeting Michael. Maybe I knew, on some level, that our time there would be short, because I never took the time to make the house ours. I didn't paint a single wall or plant anything in the yard. I left so many possessions unpacked, and opened up so little of myself to the community I longed to be a part of. So it's not the house I miss, or the neighborhood, because it never felt like home. I miss the idea of the home it might have been.
This last bit of legal unpleasantness has left me bitter, which is neither healthy nor productive, but seems somehow... symmetrical. Our buyers bailed, taking a toll financially. And, of far more significance, our marriage failed, which cost us so much emotionally. Will we end up in a better place? I haven’t a clue. I’m trying not to plan and predict and look forward to a different life. The one I’ve got right now, when I stop and pay attention, is pretty friggin’ good.