I live in your house now that you have died.
We used to meet and part every summer, for 22 or 23 years.
When I was a child, sometimes, after a year, I would barely recognise you on the level of emotions. After driving all night and crossing now mythic borders, I would receive a hearty and honest hug, in a surreal setting after sunrise, from a stranger initially. After a day or two, I would feel natural.
As a small child, after staying for weeks with you, I would not recognise my mother.
When I was 12, I wanted to live in your house with you when you are old. Renovate the attic … there is plenty of room up there for two big extra rooms. There still is, but the roof has been isolated with plastic and doesn’t smell like ancient attic anymore and the old metal basins wooden chairs enigmatic tools and devices and buckets are gone.
You were taking much better care of the garden.
I don’t mind when stuff overgrows, I just go out and harvest the wild dandelion roots or flowers. I’m reluctant to mow the lawn when there are violets and dandelions sprinkled across it. It’s a meadow now.
And some of your tulips survived all these years and blossom in spring.
All the currant shrubs have been cut down though, pointlessly. If I knew I’m staying, I might plant new ones.
I let the cats run wild. There’s no dog to chase them and I prefer observing them. I know they are the neighbours’ secret pets.
I wonder why the house had to be empty for 4 years.
I was “out in the world”, chasing (abstract) things, ideas, people, phantoms for the most part. I had no home. I didn’t know what I wanted except excitement and the absence of pain and grief. I never achieved the latter.
I came here when I was burnt out, you could say. And I understood I need to survive.
You prayed for me probably every day for 27.5 years. Including when I smashed your door or was irritated from just seeing you when you were old and clumsy.
* * *
When I finally came down with the pain that started in 1989 and a dozen others, I also understood that “the world” isn’t actually much better (or more) than this. Here.
Looking for a lost wholeness that isn’t here anymore, was never here, but also somehow still is here when I am here.
I chose this place to abide in myself and put together the pieces (into something else), as long as life and circumstances let me. Sometimes I wonder if you’ve plotted it. In a way I am grateful, while never being sure how long this can last. The memory of loss is so organic that I expect more loss; I don’t deal with it better than when I was 4.
Perhaps I also chose it to feel the grief that I don’t remember anymore, that later (early) drowned into confusion and fragmentation.
Should I try to inherit or buy this place? Where will I go next?
You gave me the imprint of life, and later of relative peace with death.