Wednesday, December 30, 2015
An address can never truly be permanent. We will move again or die, right? Maybe not.
My husband, children and I moved recently, to a lovely rent house 2.4 miles from our former address. We sold the former house to build our dream house, and during the eighteen to twenty-four month period of construction we'll live in this borrowed space.
Renting feels kind of nice, like volunteering or working a temp position. We're not fully responsible for this space we don't own. There's no forever commitment, so it feels like play, with a slight degree of anonymity. We can enjoy the space, the way a candystriper enjoys strolling down hospital corridors as though she's officially on the payroll, when her only duties are refilling water pitchers and delivering flowers to the correct rooms. Sure, a temporary space does feel somewhat borrowed, but it provides a pleasant, albeit false, sense of possession. It's like a nice hotel room stay while on vacation. Who cares that we can't paint the walls when we've got complimentary comforts like soaps, shampoos and lotions, even a coffee pot in the room. We can hang our clothes here, sleep here, take a hot shower, watch TV. We have a key. But because we're only here for a little while, and because the room is part of a larger dream we've worked hard to achieve, we will not tire of the place. Instead, there's a sustainable newness, renewable anticipatory energy.
The borrowed space is a symbol of what is to come.
To celebrate building anew I've made other changes -- a new (leased) car and dramatically different hair color. I've lost 25 pounds. I've gotten comfortable in this larger, more accommodating home office where I now write, so unlike the claustrophobic and doorless nook I left behind at the former address. Now I have space for my big black writer's desk, my massage table and chair, manual camera and tripod, photography manuals, essential oil collection, an enormous armoire to hold mountains of books/notes/files. I have space for more bookshelves, keepsakes, a comfortable chair where I can read in peace or journal.
I was able to rescue everything from the storage facility where my possessions had lived far too long, objects of creative expression and sentimental value. They are personal effects, define who I am, and they now accompany me in this temporary space. I find myself falling into temporary love with the clean vanilla walls and warm hardwood floors, with the ample light shining through large windows, with a door that locks.
I can't tell you how happy this makes me, how whole and secure I feel. I'm no longer scattered between two floors, several rooms, closets, drawers and an offsite storage facility. Finally, I have an adult room of my own. No more living in pieces.
I have an ambitious goal during this eighteen to twenty-four month period of building our dream home. The goal is to finish writing my memoir. The rough draft is nearing 80,000 words. It's a mess but has a discernible shape and is mostly breathing on its own. My family of origin has never felt more alive, present. I don't believe in ghosts, so I attribute this warmth and communion with my deceased or far away parents and siblings to hard-won healing, to methodically assimilating memories, lessons, pain. Writing about my first loves has taught me more than sharing a life with them could. There was much I hadn't seen before cradling all their letters at once, their report cards, birthday cards, photographs, shirts, before folding these impressions into deeper meaning, into words.
I've now walked the streets of my loved ones, studied their footsteps. I've collected every available piece of them, every note, essay, photo. I've gathered them here in a temporary space, a pocket for each family member inside a fuchsia and burgundy cloth crate. They live there for now, each in their own compartment, as well as in the bright pixels of their evolving story.
All this collecting and storing is like a prayer or meditation, an adoring psychical embrace. I'm holding them in thoughtful remembrance while recording their story. They are no longer scattered between years and stray pieces of paper, too many miles of disjointed memories. I have secured pieces of their lives in this temporary but spacious room, so that they may be released again, free as the dream I have always wished for them. Their new home will be among pages of contiguous story, their story, safe and whole.
Their permanent address will be titled Pieces.