Watch the shadow cross the floor (sun in an empty room)
We don’t live here anymore (sun in an empty room)
Sun in an empty room, The Weakerthans
So our 190 boxes had been moved to the new house and it was time to go back and take one last look at where we used to live.
It had been pouring down rain all day. As I stepped into my old living room for the last time, the sun came out. It hit me that this would be the last time I’d see the sun slant across this floor. We don’t live here anymore.
For many years I’d lived with the previous owners’ paint and paneling. After the remodel 2 years ago, the house was finally the way I had always dreamed it could be. Now the sunbeam across this floor that I had chosen, bouncing off the perfect painted walls belonged to someone else.
This is Where we Used to Live
I looked at the old 1912 fireplace and thought of the hours I spent regrouting it so it would be pristine and white again. My new house didn’t have a fireplace like this. I looked around my lovely kitchen. The tiles, the new appliances, the new countertops – all the thought and effort that had gone into choosing the colours, the tile pattern, the new sink – all of this was no longer mine and the new owners would likely change everything. My heart broke a little.
This was where I brought my new born son and put him in his cradle. In this room we built LEGO figures of all kinds, played with trains, read about dinosaurs. When he was 2, he slept in his first real bed. It was a simple pine bed but my artist neighbor had painted figures from Where the Wild Things Are on it. Junior was so excited!
Now some other person, perhaps another little boy, would occupy this room. Junior cried at the thought of leaving his first room, that someone else might sleep here. It was his room after all. It felt wrong. But leave it he would and be just as happy in his new room.
I went into my beach glass coloured bedroom. The pale green was so comforting to me. When I lay in bed, the colour would help soothe whatever worry I had, whatever heartache I felt. When the wasband checked out of our marriage, I redecorated with complimentary greens. It was a little oasis in a home that was then filled with hurt and betrayal.
Then there was my sunshine yellow bathroom. Oh I loved the colour! In winter, when everything was dark in the morning, the sun would peek up over the neighbour’s roof and fill the bathroom with sunshine. It was like being in the warm embrace of light and happiness. It never ceased to make me feel better.
Connections to the Earth
Back downstairs, I looked out the back door window, across the deck, out to the green oasis of a garden I had created. The yard was just a flat, green lawn when we had moved in. Slowly I had pulled up the sod and planted. There were perennials from my mother’s garden, 2 wisteria I had from my grandmother’s garden. The old apple tree that produced the most glorious apples yet we never did find out what kind of apple tree it was. My beautiful vegetable patch, the kale I planted this year standing tall and hearty. There were the 2 asparagus plants that finally had started producing amazing spears. There were the red and black currant bushes that had originally come from plant cuttings in Denmark. My mom had received them from her friends and I had taken cuttings with me to this garden. And there were cuttings coming with me to the new house.
The Final Look
I walked through the living room again, through the dining area. The sun was starting to fade as I made my way into the sunroom. My glorious sunroom which had seen so many blooms on my Queen of the Night cacti. I locked the inside door for the last time.
Looking out at my front garden, the Troll hazel had grown from a 2 ft sprout to a 10 foot twisted tree. The witch hazel’s leaves were bright orange now and I thought of the beautiful, fragrant orange flowers that would bloom in December that someone else would enjoy now.
Unlocking the front door, I stepped out into the fading light. I put the key in the lock, turned it slowly. I took the key out and popped it through the mail slot. This house was no longer mine. I turn the old bell clock in the door. The lonely echo of the bell in the empty sunroom made me cry.
This house had been everything I ever wanted. I had put my heart into creating a home that was welcoming and a garden that could provide sanctuary. This oasis had been my respite from the outside world. I could endure difficult times knowing that I would come home to my calm space. During the past year, the wasband in the basement, my oasis had been reduced to the garden and my beach glass coloured room. But at least I still had one.
It hurt to let this dream go but I would have to let it go eventually. This was just sooner rather than later. Kinda like pulling the bandaid off quickly.
The Final Goodbye
I walked down the front stairs, opened my lovely green gate with the heart, and stepped through for the last time. I turned around and looked at my old house as the rain began to fall again.
It now belonged to someone else. We don’t live here anymore.