Saturday, April 11, 2009
Blog Against Theocracy: Leaving it all behind
So you've heard how people who are being foreclosed upon trash their houses?
Not us. I understand the anger that people feel when they must leave their homes, but why do damage? How can that possibly make you feel better?
As we finish closing up our house to turn the keys over to Citibank, I'm vacillating between an odd melancholy and a sense of relief. I can assure you, though, that it has not occurred to me to damage the house.
Perhaps the fluorescent light bulbs have disappeared. And the good shower heads. And some of the heavy-duty dowel rods from the closets. But these are all things we purchased on my credit card and will continue to pay for as part of our Chapter 13 bankruptcy settlement. I figure that as long as that chunk of money for creditors is subtracted from my paycheck, then I'll be damned if I'm going to leave those things behind.
It's really as much what you don't do as what you do, I think, when it comes to leaving a house. Luckily, we've been able to take our time. The Sheriff didn't knock on our door and demand that we leave. I'm glad for that.
However, knowing that we were leaving, things like simple repairs didn't get done. Why bother? Screens are damaged and go unreplaced. The Actor and Garbo cracked a window in her bedroom a while back and we didn't fix that. We never finished the painting job we started in 2007 when our lives derailed and today I peeled some blue painters' tape from a door jamb, chuckling to myself about how many times I'd said "we really need to finish those touch ups and be done with this."
As I walked through the house this afternoon, I listened to the echoes of my footsteps, playing off the walls. And what was that? The wild footfalls of the kids running down the hallway, the sound of a cat mewling behind an accidentally closed closet door, the crackling of bacon frying on a Sunday morning, a hushed laugh in the master bedroom, the faint racket of the washing machine winding down its cycle in the basement.
I stood for a moment in the master bathroom and stared out the window at the cedar tree that stands alone in the back yard. As odd as it seems now, this was the room where I experienced my most intense emotions. It was where I hid to cry, where I mulled things over as I got ready for my day, where my eyes met the eyes of my beloved in the mirror as we shared that space.
I snapped a picture and then moved on. The neglected garden waited for me. I joined MathMan in the back yard, sorting out the hardscaping and emptying pots of soil into the tangle of weeds that would have been, in other years, a dark patch of earth with new growth already poking through. I plucked the low iron fencing from the edge of the herb bed and considered which plants to dig up and bring with us to the new place.
There won't be too many more trips to the old house now to tidy up. All that remains is a second hand weight bench, some pots from the back yard, an odd box of bunting that needs to go back to The Dancer's high school, and some cleaning supplies.
I did leave one thing behind. I couldn't help myself. Of course we'd left our marks all over the house. The color of paint on the walls, the type of flooring. The dings and scratches on the walls where pictures once hung.
That just wasn't enough for me, though. I wanted to leave a message. In the master closet, I'd done my handiwork.
All the way up and down the closet. Keep Church and State Separate. It's my little way of participating in The Blog Against Theocracy and spreading the word.