Home? I am trying to figure out what that is, and how long it takes for this to be it. Is it not being surprised by how your front door looks when you go to put your key in it? Is it not noticing your neighborhood anymore when you walk through it to go downtown? Is it not wondering whether it is worth trying to convince the neighbor's cat that this is your porch, although he is perfectly welcome to climb around on it? Is it not having dreams anymore about having to move again, or whether to stay in this house or the old house tonight?
I hope it is not the latter one, because I have those dreams about every night. Sure, it is a relief to wake up and find that really and truly it is not necessary to pack everything up again and move it back. And it is a relief to discover that there is only one choice for where to sleep on a given night.
But when I did a final walk-through in the old house to make sure everything looked OK for passing it along to its new owner, I did--and who is surprised--feel sad. It was the first house I had owned, after all, one I had bought more or less on my own, as if to say sure, I can find a partner sometime but I don't have to keep my life on hold in the meantime. And I did live there for four and a half years, so some pretty important things happened there. I hated that it looked small by comparison with the high ceilings of this new place; I hated feeling like I might think I was better than that good house that took good care of me.
And still when I go into the basement here and see the many odds and ends that were left here by someone moving out, I feel like I am leasing space. I look at my little wine rack down there, and the first thing I think is, I hope it is not in anyone's way. Then I worry that I am disturbing someone's stuff. Then I get my wits about me again and remember this is our house, and sometime we really should clear out the baesment.
The door to the basement locks with an old key that sort of jams in the lock. The key doesn't come out, it just turns. Or didn't come out: for some reason recently it did come out, and now the door won't lock, even if you turn the key in the lock. But when I pull the key out and look at it, I think how cool that there is this old key in this house. It looks like the keys I have used in Rome apartments. Now there is one in my house, and until recently it worked. Then it struck me that it is my key, that I am not just using it during a sojourn in a strange city (though Greenville is strange).
How long will it take before I stop feeling like my furniture is squatting in this house? Or like I don't need to tiptoe around the neighbor's cat?