She stood in the middle of the baren room, and she sighed. The sound tiredness and uncertainty echoed off the walls where once stood towers of books. A lifetimes worth of lifetimes gathered and lives through the word. It bounced off the empty cupboards. We used to argue about how she could never remember to close them.
She took a step into the hallway, and the pitter-patter of her tiny heel clad feet echoed off the cavernous maws that used to be our bedroom and those of our children. She took slow steps as she passed each one. Murmuring about checking to see if we had left anything behind. But I knew that behind her eyes, she was seeing 7 years worth of tears and laughter and arguments and making up.
She lingered at the door when she finished. Took one last look and released one more breath and closed the door on the echo.
We didn’t talk on the ride away. She didn’t glance back, just squared her shoulders as I drove her into our future.
When we arrived at our new home. Our own home. She bound up the steps and entered the house with the names of our kids on her lips. The chorus of “Yes mom” greeted her and she swept all 4 into her arms. When they broke the embrace it was my turn and she whispered in my ear. “This is our home, it will ever echo.”
It never would.
I can see people bustling inside as I approach the house. I know that mommy is making bakes, and that the whole house smells delicious. Life, just up that walk, something that isn’t there in a cold stark dorm, abandoned by it’s residents for places like this. With lights on a tree, clearly visible through windows that glow invitingly.
Maybe it was that thought that had me back here, wrapped in nostalgia. Everyone else had a family, or a friend with one. I was a fringe dweller even among my closest, not close enough to be family. So why not go home, to my home and family.
I take a step and as I do I hear the clash of angry voices, then the wailing. My Mother, my aunt. I see my father’s slumped shoulders pass in front of the window. My sister bolts out and slams the door. Her eye is black. It all comes back. The contempt, the venom, the discomfort and the seething hate. The pall over everyone, the fear. This isn’t home.
I turn tail, back to the train station, and buy a ticked anywhere the next train is heading. Maybe there will feel like home.
In response to A Good Woman’s – A Tuesday list of ten. Ten things I wish I figured out sooner.
- There is nothing short of death you won’t live through.
- Being overwhelmed does not mean I’m incompetent.
- Getting angry is sometimes necessary.
- Bring food and come naked is sometimes the only thing needed.
- House work, work work and all other forms of exertion will still be there tomorrow.
- Validation doesn’t come from outside. Most people can’t give it to you anyway, because they don’t have it themselves.
- Children Cry. It’s what they do. Sometimes they just need to.
- Treat myself. If I don’t think I’m worthy of reward, nobody else will either.
- My kids are not the Beaver, I don’t need to live up to sister June.
- It’s never as serious as it seems.
These are ten things no one ever tells you when you have a kid, or enter into a relationship.
Indeed many a night I have found myself in fetal position, eyes swollen retching agony onto this plain, simply because someone told me that I wasn’t mother enough, house wife enough, or woman enough. And I believed them.
I myself forgot that I was only human, working hard and hardly sleeping just to eek out a living that I could be comfortable with. There are still days I stop and wonder why I’m doing it. Because Lord knows I have little to show for nearly 10 years of thankless servitude to the man (who has sometimes been a woman) and his brother the side gig. Seeing mothering and lovering as some herculean task that needed some huge meticulous production. Not such a thing. These things are purely products of my individual situation and thus are dictate-able by me.
But see now I know, that feeling of tired satisfaction, those moments with the kids sleeping or giggling or playing despite it all, and of course those moments with the Chief when we just vibe, are the goal.
As we said in my Granny’s eulogy, life is made in the small moments. So those are what we strive for, find rapture in and hold dear. Everything else is just chaff, and the winds of time blow them away.
I watched the bead of moisture roll down the slender neck of the glass, as the little bubbles rose energetically to the top. The hops were fragrant and the head was fantastic, you know? persistent. I tool another draw of the cold amber liquid and savored the bitterness as it slid down my throat. I felt it settle in my stomach, cool and seductive in contrast with the humid, roasting Caribbean night. This was what god intended for me tonight.
It’s a whole different level of sexy to enjoy something so utterly. Knowing that I was this instrument of the birth of it, the one who crafted it and now to enjoy the product of my labor. Soothing me, making this heat a little more bearable.
There is nothing like a home brew.