The Last Month in This House

Personal Essay

When we first moved here I was angry. I wanted to hear the cars go by my window at night like they did on Cottonwood Drive. There wouldn’t be traffic in the culdesac to shine their lights in my window at night and hum softly as they passed. “I want to go home,” lauded four year old Kelly. Now fifteen years have passed and I can’t believe it’s over.

Why do we become emotionally connected to houses? I learned to ride my bike out there. I learned to sew in here. I watched Pretty in Pink and Gilmore Girls for the first time. My loud mouthed neighbor became my best friend. For some reason God gave us the emotional depth to look at wood and plaster and call it memory and comfort.

I left this year for school, and came back at Thanksgiving. I thought I didn’t belong anymore. I thought I grew out of home. It wasn’t necessarily my dorm that I felt deeply connected to. It was UT. (Of course it was the people too, but that’s a different post for a different time. This one is about physical locations). The campus became my new comfort and my new memories, and foolishly I thought I had moved on. I didn’t realize how much moving on there was left to do. Not until this week. The green walls will be painted white and the cat scratches will be buffed out of the doors. The house will look better, and the memories will be fewer.

My parents are moving from Temple, TX to New York, NY. It’s time for them to trust and hope and leap. They need something new. I have my new experiences and memories to make in Austin, so how is it fair if they are made to stay in little old Temple? I’m not angry or sad. I’m elated to know I won’t ever again ask “How was work today?” and hear the reply “awful” or “the same”. I can’t wait to see what is in store for them in New York, but I’m definitely feeling more than elation.

The word for what I am might be sentimental. The apartments I live in during the next several years will have some of the same pictures and books and movies. I will use curtains and couches to make them home-y. But never again will I feel at home without the added stressors of rent and utilities and water and keeping the fridge stocked and finding that lost sock without my mom’s help. To be as dramatic as possible, it is the end of an era. The era of a teenage homebody.

But I still have a month left.

So far painters and plumbers are coming and going. As are bugs. I’ve killed 11 flies today that were let in by the man painting the front door. (One of them was killed with my bare hands while writing this post). But in the midst of preparing for the garage sale, the move, and selling the house there are a few things I intend to do. I intend to watch a lot of movies on our big blue couch. I intend to eat food I don’t have to buy and use the washing machine and shower as many times as possible. I intend to make new crafts and throw old crafts away. I intend to laugh with my mom and I intend to relive memories through pictures and stories.

I’m allowed to be sad, but I won’t let myself become mopey. I’m going to accomplish things through my sentimental filter. This is the last month in this house. This is the last month in my home. And I am going to enjoy it.

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