New house

[Sunday, Jan. 15] We slept soundly, and woke up this morning in our own bed at last.

It squeaked. Loudly.

In the dozen years we’ve owned it, the frame hasn’t squeaked before. The movers left off some screws when they reassembled it.

I’ve always loved the smell of this house that emanates from the raw wood walls. When I’m away for even a day, the scent of trees breathes through my nose when I open the front door.

Today it smells like chemicals. Paint, carpet-cleaner, polyurethane floor coating. Luckily, it’s warm enough that I can open the windows.

I’m setting up my office, again. The furniture is arranged differently and I’m now closer to the windows and the heater. The room will feel open and connected to the outdoors – eventually.

Right now, it is stacked high with art supplies and miscellania in boxes. And the heater – it smells funny too.

These are all superficialities, though. They will dissipate.

The oddest thing about our new house is that it feels so much the same.

This is what I wanted, all these months that I spent in the rental and schlepping back and forth to Atlanta and taking care of Tom. I wanted to have my old life back.

Now that I’m here, I see that I can’t.

The house is healed. The holes are gone. The exterior damage is repaired.

There’s no sign of the trauma.

How could the house look so normal when I am not?

I keep thinking of The Scarlet Letter.

Azalea should have to wear a big red D letter on her front. Damaged. And I should wear a big red D on my front, for Depressed, Derailed.

It feels wrong that I look so ordinary, no outward sign of what I’ve been through.

In that way, I am ancient. As old as the human race.

All survivors, all damaged. All new every time we wake up alive.

Today’s penny is a 2015, the last time I thought that I looked normal.

2 thoughts on “New house”

  1. In my culture, damaged items are often fixed with precious metals like gold, which makes them more valuable. Damage is history, love, loss and the derailment you speak so eloquently of. It’s what makes great art and beauty. Think of van Gogh or Elvis Costello – latter’s best work was when he was anguished. Billy Joel, etc. It hurts, but the scars make you more beautiful.

    1. Thanks for adding this Homira! What a gorgeous approach to fixing damage. You explain it so eloquently.

      Of course, the thing you’re fixing can’t be made of plastic so this might not work in America 🙂

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