The house is starting to look like a house again.
It is something… Walking about the house looking at each object that made it a home, and mindlessly wondering whether you wished to take it or toss it before you left for good. Each thing comes with a story attached, of course. The “days of the week” glasses that came free with milk cartons that we zealously collected over several weeks? Funny how they don’t make the cut for the “to take” list. The couch that we bought because we got sick of our old couch sucking us in? A happy bunch of people took it away just last week, and along with it, took away the very first piece of furniture we had bought for ourselves, and had loved immensely, food stains and all. The IKEA armchair the husband got me right after little girl was born to make those marathon midnight nursing sessions easier on me? Yeah. Sold. The little one’s crib and changing table will be soon gone too, and with them, that afternoon the husband and best friend spent assembling them while I plonked myself and the tummy on the couch, would be gone. As will the microwave that the husband bought for me on impulse because he felt bad having hot lunches outside while I managed the best I could with cold leftovers and a baby who refused to nap.
The playroom, that just a couple of weeks ago looked like a toy store gone all homey, looks at me disappointed as though I have let it down. The grand red kitchen we bought about a month ago has left a yawning space with nothing but a bare wall in its place, and I had to hold back tears when I saw it being carried away to its new home, although the sight of the cute little girl in pigtails giggling at the sight of the kitchen was some respite. For the longest time the little munchkin would keep looking at the wall as though not quite figuring out what was missing. It breaks my heart but I tell myself she is too young to remember her toys being sold off so we could buy her new ones in her new home. So bit by bit, one by one, her toys keep disappearing, and the playroom keeps getting emptier and sadder.
The walls are starting to get bare. Photographs, lovingly put up, carefully aligned, gazed at and sighed about are being taken down with only their imprints as testimony. The wall decal that we had put up with all the excitement we could harness as would be parents I took down alphabet by alphabet, flower by flower. The more recent wall decal, featuring our most favourite mother-daughter photos, I took apart a few hours ago. I remember everything about the afternoon I had put it together… A tug here, a pull there, and it’s like that afternoon had never happened. Making memories is hard, erasing them…. Hmm.
I have moved enough to know that each new house is like a blank canvas in which to paint my memories in. But this house, this was special. Sorry, is. It is still special. These walls had witnessed me walking from room to room with amazement as I discovered it for the first time. The huge breezy kitchen, the water feature in the living room and the Asian bed in the bedroom… I was sold the first time I had set my eyes on it. These very walls saw me cry in happiness soon after we moved in, the day I knew I was going to be a mother. It was to this house that we brought in our tiny bundle of everything, and life was never the same. This house has been tied to way too many firsts to be cast off as just another pit stop before the final destination. And as though trying to prove a point, the last few days have been breezier than ever before, with the sunshine hitting just the right spot every morning, and the trees that I can see from my windows just on the verge of bursting into pink and white blooms.
It’s two weeks until last day, and yet, this disintegrating is unsettling… Like having to say goodbye again and again. We will set it all up again, the husband says, look forward to what’s coming up. And all I can do is lament about letting go of all that was familiar to me, plunging deep into the unknown yet again. Even as I type this, I keep sighing and looking about the house as though I were lost, and the Norah Jones playing in the background is doing nothing to uplift my melancholy. So I will wallow in it for a bit. Let the emptiness sink in a little more. And then, tomorrow, when the sun shines and the breeze gets all gutsy and gusty I will resume packing in my memories yet again. One photo at a time. One memory at a time.