by Emily McPhillips
The removal men had already stopped by the house earlier that day to take all the things that were too big and too important to follow on later in the car, in the journey across to the new house.
With all the furniture gone I was able to appreciate the old-fashioned features of the property; the ones my estate agent had raved about so elegantly to all of my potential buyers.
The fireplace in the master bedroom looked timeless and astute there in its carvings of lead black, set about as though permanently in mourning for bygone eras and bygone people, like me, who’d once made this house their home.
I walked through the house, a sweeping brush of hands and feet; I was well practiced in my knowledge of its sore spots, the places where it creaked, and rather cruelly, as though applying pressure to another’s bruise, I manipulated my privelege as master, by manipulating moans from it. The floorboards sang; a sad song that hurt more that night for sounding sadder than it ever had done before.
I made my goodbyes and my apologies to all that had happened there during these last six years, a space of time that had allowed me to call this house ‘My Home’ – and I knew that I was bracing myself not only for the move, but for my own inevitable task of moving on.
Only something brilliant happened.
I was carrying boxes of clothes out to my car, when one of them gave way. The box, it just fell open, easy as that, no reason for it, because I’d secured it exceptionally well, because I was like that: I was careful – and the box wasn’t heavy, all the heavy sort had been taken already by the removal men. No, this box, it just broke down, it fell apart, and it did something to me; it made me falter and reflect inside a bout of deja vu.
In some acute recollection of memory I noted that the clothes that’d fallen to the ground were the very same ones which I’d worn on the day I’d moved into this house; I don’t know why I remembered this, except that at the time of moving in it’d felt like it was an important thing to remember, and there I was, investing in this memory, enjoying the happy accident of it all, and knowing that in some way that this deed had always been waiting to happen, in the very same way it had.
I smiled. I looked around as if someone should see this; should know what had happened, should know what a strange and wonderful surprise this was. I thought that I couldn’t leave things at that – no, there was something else left for me to do yet.
I went out back, on out into the garden of the house that was still mine yet, for a short time, and I pegged those ‘first day’ clothes of mine out on the washing-line. ‘Keep a part of me, house,‘ – you sly, cute house – because I’ll always have love for you.
It was a gift of some kind and an admission, too. I’d chosen that house, and now I’d chosen to leave it – but that wasn’t everything; our time couldn’t be likened to bookends – it wasn’t that neat.
There were reasons I was leaving. There was love that’d begun in that house and love that’d ended there, and there was all that’d happened in-between. But what I can say, in regards to how much a house and a woman can ever become entwined, is that the two of us became too close to ever become too far apart.
Emily McPhillips was born in 1985. She blogs here.