Monday, December 3, 2012

On Being Home

When you're in a new place, you have to learn the sounds. The creaks, the thuds, the way the wind talks to the side of the building. You didn't know these things going into it. You're awake way past when you should be because you are the type of person who doesn't like to go to bed until the room is mostly straightened up and with boxes and bags and stuff just piled everywhere, that doesn't seem to be happening tonight. You give in because you know it's better than struggling. Acceptance has become your best lover, after all.

You said goodbye to your first place, the brick walls and the beautiful bathroom, and all of the certainty that comes with knowing a place. You knew the sounds there. The neighbor next to you who left his television on literally all day and night, and you weren't sure if it was for the dog's comfort or for his. Probably both. His favorite time to blast music was between 11pm and 2am and sometimes you really wanted to be sleeping then, but sometimes, like tonight, you were up anyway and it was kind of nice to have the company. There were other loud sounds that filtered right through, things you won't mention here, and not exactly the things you ever want to hear through your wall. You are delighted to be rid of him and yet, you can't help miss the familiarity. The sounds upstairs were always the same, too. After a good long time you decided there could only be a handful of solutions for the noises that occurred: either A) they held class to teach very large, clumsy men how to walk in high heels (this is what you're pretty sure it was because that sound combination is just such a rare blend); B) they had a ton of dogs who slept all day and only - only! - wanted to play fetch at night, all night please and woof; or C) they had converted part of their living space into a studio where they made handmade furniture out of massive piles of wood with very specific tools. You kind of loved picturing all of these but tonight you are okay to be without them. You jumped out of your skin every time one of the large men fell, or the wood pile crashed or the dog caught the ball and knocked something over. You kept saying on the last day, you would go up and ask, you had to know, and then today you didn't even think of it once because there is a difference between what matters and the chatter we fill our days with.

You said goodbye to the couch where you fell asleep with your head in his lap after coming home from the Met. Both of you totally peaceful, totally exhausted, crashed. This day caused a string of texts to appear at random over the past year or so with nothing more than the word "couch" in them. The couch that your neighbor up the street generously passed off to you for free, even helped get it in your garage. Neighbors you had honestly never met nor spoken to, before or since. The couch where your baby boy, the love of your life, snuggled up next to you, learning how to trust again, trying his best to handle this strange place, letting his tail wag freely. The couch where an arm was slung around your shoulders, both of your sharing the same cushion, where he kissed you like a nervous fifteen year old. The couch where a friend slept for a couple of months straight, but never on the pull-out bed. The couch your mother would fall on to dramatically, telling you she just needed a minute. You thought you would mind leaving it behind, but it didn't phase you. Felt right to pass it on, you'd had your time together. The memories were already made and those are the only things we need to hold on to anyway.

You settle in as much as you can and stay up until a ridiculous hour to start learning the sounds here. You thought you'd be sad to see that place go but you were never meant to be in that space. It was so cozy and inviting but you always felt out of place, wobbling around like a toddler, always trying to get your bearings. You thought you'd be a little thrown off by the change. Instead you're just so freaking happy and aware of how happy you are and that makes you happier and the cycle continues. You've grown out of the toddler stage now and your feet are steady and it takes much more to knock you off of them than a new front door. There's a gracefulness, an ease.

When you saw this apartment for the first time, over two years ago, you knew it was meant for you. When she let you down, let it go, you were heartbroken for a good half a day, all the while knowing that it would never have worked. Somewhere in the back of your mind it sat there, waiting, and you just knew - the way you always just know things. When the call came, it wasn't even very startling. When the pressing back at you, the trying to stop you, the trying to scare you started happening, you just breezed through it. You think of all the versions of yourself who couldn't have possibly trusted that calm, steady voice that told you this was for you, but this version could and did. And now, as you get ready to finally go to sleep, you can't help but give thanks for the way it all worked out, knowing that it was all perfect and meant to lead you here. And you can't help but give thanks for the fact that you just know things, deep in your bones, and if you're brave enough to trust them, they all come to be, at a rate of a million times better than you ever imagined. And you can't help but give thanks for finally understanding what she meant when she pressed her hand into the center of her chest bone and said "it doesn't matter where you are if your home is right here". You give thanks to have your home in your heart and peace in your soul.