It’s hard to realize, but a house is a thing.

I remember being fascinated and jealous that Sleeping Beauty didn’t know all the rooms in her house. Imagine having a house with so many places that there is always a new place to be! When you needed your own space, you could just find a new spot! My home is like that. There are little cozy nooks in the barn, in the storage house, nestled in the two-plus acres, and in the farmhouse itself. That’s the first reason I bought this place. The second was because it reminds me of my grandma’s house.

When my STBX moved out, I began to feel like this was finally my home. He had a way of taking over.

Now as I walked out, I breathed in the fresh air and saw my land as a challenge to someone not used to doing yard work. I could plan things to minimize weeding. I bought books on composting, mulching, and lasagna gardening. I bought a new tractor when the old one died. I bought special orange-scented wax to keep it shiny and made it my blogging Gravatar.

As far as the home itself, I eliminated clutter in the common areas, though realizing that living with a teenager involves a lot of compromising and a closed bedroom door when it comes to neatness.

I decided. I decided to buy my STBX out.

Then one day at work, I had a false alarm that my retina was detaching. Scared shit or shitless (which is proper English?), I drove myself to the optometrist. As I waited for the dilating drops to take effect, I looked in the empty chair, my place when my husband’s retina actually did detach a few years earlier. That was one of SO many medical events for which I was there for him.

A few days later, driving back from the dog park, A DECISION MADE ME.

I was not to buy this house, though the decision tears my heart apart.

I keep saying I love the house because it’s my grandma’s house. But what about where this house IS?  After immigrating to this country, my grandparents never moved too far away from the diversity of NYC. They moved to a rural area when they bought their house, but they didn’t have to give up the rich mixture of cultures of the city. They moved to New Jersey, and that’s where I belong.

I tried very hard to make a home for myself here, but I only have one good friend here after 21 years. That’s f**ked up. I’m almost 57 years old and someday I will die. Between those two situations, I would expect some medical complications. I need a support system: people for me to help out and people to help me. In Jersey, I still have my family, a lot of old friends, and a lot of friends I haven’t made yet who will really like me. They will not ignore me because I don’t go to their church or because I’m not originally from around here. They will see me, which is all I have to offer.

I woke up at 3 am one morning, yearning for this house. But later in the week, I sat getting my car repaired and two people who’ve known me for 13 years did what always happens to me living here: they walked right past me and talked to the people whose grandparents graduated with their grandparents. They’ve known me through years of my volunteering at the school and constant school and sporting events. This has been happening for 21 years, in the bleachers for every team event I’ve supported and any other gathering of this community. And as I have been doing for the last 21 years, I made the move and pleasantly joined myself into their conversation.

But I’m done swimming upstream. I want to go with the flow. Maybe I’ll have a small garden because I want to instead of having to keep up with maintaining two acres when I’m exhausted. Or I’ll naturally make new friends instead of trying to get people to talk with me when they don’t want to. I will wait to move up North if my daughter wants to finish high school here. She thinks she may want to finish in N.J.

House, I love you. But I don’t have the time you need for me to care for you. And I need community to make myself a home.

Other than Snookie or Springsteen, any ideas for a new Gravatar?

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