The moment I stepped foot in this place, I knew it was my house and would be my home.
Now that my circumstances have changed so dramatically, I'm beginning to understand that for my own good, I will need to let go of this beautiful place.
It's isolated and it's full of memories that sometimes make it hard to move forward.
I look at the downstairs closet door and remember how Dave had to kick that door open from the inside to save us.
All the doors in this place have a very old-fashioned latch instead of knobs. The closet door has a latch on the outside only. If you go into the closet and somehow the door closes and latches on the outside, you're locked in. Now, this would theoretically never happen, because
1. Most likely you'd never go into the closet and then want to close the door behind you.
2. Even if you wanted to try that move, it's difficult to close a door that has no knob or handle of any sort on that side.
Theory and reality. Two different things.
The trap door to the crawlspace is located in that closet. Dave had to go into the crawlspace to do something and enlisted my help. I was to keep the cat out of the closet while he worked. Rosco wanted nothing more than to explore that crawlspace and would try to push his way into the closet while I barred his entrance. I was facing the door, keeping the door open just enough to keep it from latching from the outside while not enough to admit the curious cat by putting my fingertips under the bottom of the door to control it. Dave was standing with his torso sticking out of the trap door. Rosco stuck his white paws under the door to play with my fingertips and I giggled and called out "Look at Rosco playing with my fingers!" Dave replied (Mr. Practical) "Don't let the door latch shut. We'll be locked in here," to which I replied "I won't do that, SHEESH, whattya think I am, stupid?". And that was when I accidentally shut and latched the door. There was a flurry of "I TOLD YOU!" and "I KNOW BUT I DIDN'T THINK IT'D ACTUALLY LATCH THAT EASILY!" and "OH MY GOD WE'RE GOING TO DIE IN HERE! WHAT DO WE DO NOW? NO ONE KNOWS WE'RE IN HERE!"
After resolutely declaring that we'd just die in that closet and someone would find our corpses and those of the cat when no one came looking for us soon enough, Dave calmly hoisted himself out of the crawlspace, moved me out of the way, and karate-kicked the door right where the latch would be on the other side, cracking the frame a little, but unlatching the latch and saving us before I could finish my sentence on how embarrassing it would be to die because I trapped us in our closet.
I can still see the tiny crack in the door frame.
I look at the staircase and remember the time I picked up a mouse on the landing.
A terrible high pitched squeaking almost too high pitched to hear woke us up one night. We found Rosco playing with a mouse in the stairwell. There is something about hearing a mouse squeak for its life while watching a cat play with it that makes me lose my mind, because after watching for a few seconds, I made up (lost) my mind. I ran past the cat and mouse on the landing to the first floor, grabbed some gardening gloves lying near the door and ran back to the landing. When the cat had that mouse cornered, I grabbed the terrified rodent by the tail, ran back down the stairs and tossed it outside, all before I realized what I'd just managed to do. I think Dave's jaw made a small thump when it hit the ground. I don't think he'd moved the entire time. I calmly removed the gloves and climbed back in bed while Dave still remained frozen and silent. I'm not sure he was even able to remark on that moment that night. I think he was literally speechless. I, on the other hand, managed to say something like "Did you SEE that?" while he just stared at me like he'd never seen me before and had no idea who I was.
I look at the dining area by the wood stove and think of the time Rosco projectile vomited the liquid from cooking corn onto the dining room table, chairs and floor.
He'd gotten onto the counter when we weren't looking and lapped up ALL the liquid the corn had been cooking in, jumped off the counter and jumped onto the dining room table. From the living room, we heard the sound all cat owners dread. It's the sound that alerts us to move the cat to a surface that is not carpeted or upholstered. We both couldn't get to the kitchen in time to make sure Rosco was barfing over a paper towel or something but instead got to witness him vomit all that liquid out like a firehouse. It forcefully sprayed out of his mouth, across the table, into the chair nearby, down the chair and onto the floor. It must have a been a full 20 seconds we stood there, mouths open in surprise, listening to the musical sound of the puke dripping from the table and chair. "I have no words," I finally whispered. "You don't see that everyday" he finally deadpanned. And I went to get the paper towels.
This house is so full of memories like that. Memories that feel just as close and as current as the moment I'm living in now even though some of them are up to 11 years old.
There is some sort of disconcerting mismatch between the reality of my situation and the memories this house traps inside it. The mismatch makes me feel stuck in the past.
I can also picture a family filling this house with love and noise and life. It's a house for a family, not a single 35 year old woman. At least not THIS 35 year old single woman.
I wish I were in a position to better pick the family that moves in when this place eventually sells. I definitely feel like they're adoptive parents more than potential home buyers. I want to make them go through an application process to prove they're worthy.
They'd have to be willing to feed my hummingbirds who come back every March. There would be a stipulation that they'd HAVE to have the feeders out no later than the first week of March or the hummies might come back early and search for their feeder. This would NOT be acceptable.
They'd have to promise to never harass or hurt the deer, even when they eat the shrubs. And they will.
They'd need to promise to grow veggies in the massive veggie garden Dave and I labored over for years and to use the greenhouse we built ourselves.
They'd have to promise to look at the sky on a clear night and note that the milky way is visible out here in the middle of nowhere.
They'd need to promise to never fill this house with ugliness or violence. It's a house of peace and quiet and love and always should be.
They'd need to promise to love this house as much as I've loved it for the past 11 years.
I can't imagine that's possible, but it would be nice.