I often find life confusing; a maze of strange and unexpected happenings that just don’t make a lot of sense. At the same time this confusion is fascinating and fills me with wonderment (most of the time – sometimes it just makes me nuts).
Today, I was surprised to find life… Well, normal!
On the twelfth day in my house I woke up and encountered a deep and comforting feeling of normalness. Everything felt right. The carpet under my feet, the drag on the silverware drawer, the light streaming through the bedroom window, the soft hum of the furnace… All normal. All comfortable - like an old shoe. I even realized that I have stopped calling it my new home or my new house. It’s just my house. Like I’ve been there for years.
Hmmm, I thought to myself, as I stood under the shower spray, which is practically perfect in every way, I’m really home.
As I shampooed and rinsed and soaped and rinsed I let my mind wander back through time, looking for that place and time when I last experienced this feeling of normalness. I stopped about a four years before Eric died, which seemed to be the turning point. That was the last time I truly felt comfortable and at ease and like I belonged in my surroundings. I began to feel my way forward again and along the way I noticed little things, little subtle things (and some not-so-subtle things) that were, I think, signs of the changes taking place. Slowly 1902 Riverbank Drive was giving me the boot.
In the spring of 1997, I began the process of opening Brewstir’s Books with my sister. I remember sitting one evening filled with anxiety about the store and saying to David, “This isn’t quite right yet.” He asked me what I meant and I said that I didn’t think that the book store was the right thing for me in the long term. That earned me a well-earn and exasperated glare. “Then why are you doing it?” he asked. I didn’t know. But I said that I felt like I was being pushed out and needed to try something. I didn’t want to admit it then, but I’m certain now that I was being pushed out of the trailer. (Not by David)
Almost since I first moved into the trailer at 1902 Riverbank Drive, I’ve wanted to leave Houston. It only took 24 years, and now I’m a little closer to the highway out of here, but I’m also closer to the centre of the community. And probably more firmly rooted here - what with a mortgage and all! It occurred to me that I don’t want to leave Houston anymore. Maybe I never really did. Maybe I just wanted to leave the trailer.
In the last few days, people have stopped me and told me that I seem different. I’m reminded of the Cialis commercial where the guy says: Maybe it’s the new glasses; Maybe it’s the new haircut; Maybe it’s the new pants… Maybe it’s that I’ve finally come home. Maybe Alegria (my house’s name) is the Cialis of my life! (Um… maybe I need a different analogy! LOL)
I love my house! I love the creaky floors and the way the one cupboard door sticks a little. I love the light that floods every room with cheer. I even love the darkness at night when I hear my ghost (the spirit of a former owner) checking that the basement door is closed. I love the weird space on the living room wall that used to be the bar when the house was the old Legion. I love the 34-year-old carpet and the slightly warped, and much newer, laminate in the kitchen. I love the way the walls change colour as the light changes outside. I love the feeling that comes over me when I walk in after a day at the office as my house welcomes me back home. Most of all I think I love the potential.
When I’m sitting alone in the evening, sipping tea and knitting or writing or whatever I feel like, I feel more loved and more appreciated than I have in a very long time. Sometimes, if I listen really closely, I can hear the laughter of former Legion members as they gathered there to share stories and listen to local musicians. I can feel the history, the memories locked in the walls. I can feel myself being accepted as the rightful owner and caretaker of this magnificent dwelling.
It can be a bit overwhelming. I hope that I can live up to the sense of expectation that has risen around me. I’m constantly being approached by people asking me if I’m would teach Yoga again, or start practicing Reflexology again. I’ve been asked if I would host workshops and have gatherings in my home. I’m reconnecting with amazing women who are suddenly coming to me for advice or seeking my assistance on things. I’ve been hugged more in the last two weeks than I think I have in the last two years.
Alegria possesses an earthly aura of peace and strength. Virtually everyone who has come over since I’ve moved in has commented on it. People walk through the door and they smile. They visibly relax. They open up. A few have even danced! It’s quite marvelous to experience and to witness. I feel so incredibly blessed. And grateful. There is no limit to the gratitude that I feel for what I have.
Oddly, sitting here thinking about how strange and unexpected all this was, I do not feel confused by it. I’m fascinated and I’m filled with wonder, but curiosity rather than frustration is foremost in my mind. What great and splendid things are to follow?
Well, stay tuned. And fasten your seatbelts; it’s going to be a thrilling ride!