It was with unutterable anguish I left my home. A home I had built from swampy, barren earth. Sodden, murky, empty.
Or not quite, but like it. First: empty home, ground-stricken sleep, then bed then couch then the walls were filled, the floor cluttered. Room for every empty heart that needed rest, a seat for every party guest.
And then lost, all in a blaze, in that one broiling hot July morning, he set my home on fire and in seconds it was so lost, so scattered. Beyond my grasp. All I had built. All the space I had made to welcome others. All the nights I had spent, marveling at the beautiful wood floors, the french doors, the sun burst windows, the mantel, the fire-less fire place. I loved that home. I loved every knotted wooden board. I was in it, in all the dusty windowsills and scratched linoleum tiles. I watched her burn, I banished her image as I wept. Do not come here, I cannot bear your beauty. I could not remember. My mind full up with grief, I had no room, but that one room.
How could I have decorated for any holiday in my room- the new room, the grief room, the room I refused to call my home.It wasn’t my home. My home had evaporated. All that could have brought me physical comfort lost. I could not in good conscience decorate. What decency could be found in this cell? I was what it was to suffer, the walls that contained my un-masked sorrow, they couldn’t have been made bright. It would only have burned too. To love was to lose, to watch it stream away in bright, 104 degree heat. Like a mirage. It wavered and disappeared.
It can all go in one second or, it can all go in however long it took him. So fast to lose so much.
It seemed reckless, foolhardy, to imagine my home was safe ever again. I would feel it in my bones every time I made my new home more comfortable. Don’t get too close. Don’t love this too much. Don’t sit here too well, don’t let this creep in. It will be gone, it will be gone, it will all be gone.
And then, somehow, tonight I put an old stuffed penguin with a Christmas sweater on my mantel, nestled in the new faux-evergreen, next to the dollar store tree I bought years ago.
Like a sapling sprouting. Like clockwork re-wound. Like contentment arriving, unannounced. Sorrow is my soil. I make room, I grow. Up, even now, up.