We’re out. We’ve moved. That’s it.
The apartment is free of all dirt and dog fur. Yesterday, we did it all — vacuumed cupboard interiors, washed both sides of the windows, scrubbed the trim, polished the porch light. It took six hours. Ella lay in her bed in the empty apartment, yawning while we scurried around with our sponges at the ready.
I don’t mean to brag . . . but I’m pretty good with a sponge. So if you’re a landlord looking for kick-butt tenants, we are not ever interested ever again. Find your own perfectionist.
Our neighbors left a pile of dog poo right outside our step as a going away present, and the folks at the club next door shouted almost exclusively in four letter words, as a token of the relationship we’ve had for a year and a half. We’ll miss you too.
There’s an odd empty feeling to match our odd empty apartment, and a stinging that’s vaguely like failure. I wanted to make it home. It never felt like home.
I’m always emotional about leaving places. My family’s first home, every single dorm room I had in college, my then-boyfriend’s cars. If I had a superpower, that would be it — able to attach myself to anything in my path. But moving out and on this time feels like surrender — I’m quitting, turning my back and running. “This is somebody else’s problem,” my husband said as we left it one last time, but that’s not how I wanted to feel about our first home.
Today he was sick and stayed home, that is, at my parents’, all day. We watched Cast Away together this evening. When Tom Hanks finally bursts through the last breaker and sails away from his home for four years, a beautiful little life-threatening island, we’re supposed to feel some brand of bittersweetness. My husband put it like this: “That’s how we feel about our apartment.”
I had planned to leave lots of things behind when we moved — personal problems, marital problems, money problems; my general inability to cook, to host, to function in society. My biggest concerns are coming with me.
And, thank God, so are my biggest joys. After we cleaned yesterday, we — all three of us — lay on the floor and laughed and took family pictures. Nobody ever told me, in so few words, that it’s good to make your own family. It is.
No matter how poor, strange, furry, and mismatched we are, facing the winter as nomads up to our eyes in a project we have absolutely no business doing, we’ve adopted each other, for good. We’re one odd indivisible unit, determined to work and build and rebuild and above all to do it together.