Saturday, Jun. 08, 2019 @ 12:58 am
I pull the sheets onto my bed. I toss the duvet in the air, and it lands across the mattress on the carpeted floor of the attic. I place the pillows at the head of the bed. I stand back. My heart catches. My bed.
I walk down the painted wooden stairs to the bathroom. Flashbacks haunt me, every corner of this house, every block of this town.
My body started to react as I drove the truck down this hill into town.
I rented the truck, drove it 600 kilometers, through rush hour in the valley, heavy rain storms, and mountain passes. I felt confident, sure of myself. Gassing it up in Salmon Arm, I feel tough. I do these things now - I do them all on my own without hesitation. Picked out a table and chairs at Ikea, used leverage to edge the largest piece into the trunk of the coop car, muscled it into the elevator of my apartment building, then assembled it all, borrowing a wrench from Russell. Why do I feel so unsure, so shaky, being here? It’s not who I am any more.
I back the truck into the narrow driveway. Pull a house key from the Ziploc bag in my coat pocket. Unlock the front door. My body convulses as I cross the threshold.
I survey what’s left in the house. I scan the main floor, go down into the basement and see what’s there. I climb up to the second floor. Go into the master bedroom. I hate this room. I never felt safe here. The bed is gone. I look in the closet, and there’s a pair of his old slippers. As soon as I see the slippers, my stomach heaves and I slam the door shut and run to the bathroom.
I steady myself. Breathe into it. Of course, of course this is happening. He abused you. Your body won’t forget that.
I wrap and pack and organize for six hours. Realize the time. Fifteen minutes until the grocery store closes. Grab my old bike from the shed, the tires needing air but no pump in sight. I ride down the street, hands off of the bars and stretched wide in the rain that is falling. Mountain rain on my bare legs. I see my friend Tracy. I see the gal that bought my old skate skis. I scan the bikes parked outside the bars to see if my other friends are there. I ride past the yoga studio and my chest tightens with grief.
Do I love this place or hate it? Is it possible that it’s both?
The ferns that I planted last summer have come up in the front garden. The raspberry canes that I thieved from an overgrown patch on the right-of-way are waist high. Mint and chives overflowing from the bed beside the shed. The roses fragrant, their petals sagging in the rain. And all of it interspersed thickly with weeds.
The beauty that I tried to create here never had a chance.