Today, I called the realtor and told him I’m thinking of selling the house. He walked me through scenarios and I hung up the phone. I then went and picked up Tin and we played in the park and I looked around the historic Irish Channel and thought, okay maybe we could move closer to his school. Maybe.
Then I came home and we went about our evening life. I made dinner and we sat at the table and the house was freshly cleaned and the windows gleaming. And beyond the large rectangles of glass, the gloaming was descending on the bayou and the lights were twinkling and we were talking and I felt a stone in my stomach.
The babysitter came with her mother’s boyfriend and he said nice house, and I said, “I called a realtor today because I’m thinking of selling it.” Like that. He said, “Oh that would be a shame. It’s so beautiful.” I said, I know.
I then went out and on the way to the book event that I was headed to, I called a friend who was in the middle of dinner and said, “I called a realtor to see about selling the house.” And she said, “You have been processing this for a while.” I then called my Aunt who is now in charge of being my surrogate mother since my mother no longer answers the phone where she has passed on to and my Aunt said the same thing.
At the book event, I read my essay which is a synopsis of my dream of being a writer and how I dreamed I would be the Madonna of novel writing but instead I started blogging in 2004 after amassing many great rejection letters.
Much earlier in the day, I went for a walk with a dear friend who had cancer some years back and fought her way back only to lose everything she had in Katrina then she fought her way back from that too. And she told me she gave up the Great life to be a Bohemian and never looked back. I spoke with my life coach after walking with my friend and told her I wanted to discuss the house and my emotional attachment to it and she walked me through a scenario of losing it and it felt like, Free at Last, Free at Last, Great God Almighty I am Free at Last. Not like, OH MY GOD HOW COULD I EVER LEAVE THIS HOUSE, which I thought would be how it would feel.
For see, this house represents a dream. A dream to return to New Orleans and raise a child and be in a lovely home surrounded by beauty. I think it is someone else’s dream that I stole. A friend in California said she imagined every time I went home to New Orleans that I was going back to this beautiful old family home while instead I was going to a slum in Metairie off Veteran’s Highway where my mother lived in a rundown apartment building on a street that ran from Vets to the I-10, which was ironically named Independence. So I hijacked this person in California’s vision of who I was and made it my own. And this isn’t the first time I have gotten my identity through something akin to mail order.
Here was my new dream: I will go home this way. I will live in a big beautiful house (luck threw in the bayou) and I will have a child and I will be happy.
I drove home from the book reading and went into the In and Out to buy a pack of cigarettes. (No judgement okay, I’m coping.) And I ran into an old neighbor from the American Can and what are the first words out of his mouth? “How’s the house?” and I said, “Harold, I called a realtor today.” And this grown man, older than me, started crying in the In and Out.
We had to walk outside so that I could comfort him. Yes, that is my life. My life coach thinks I have gotten more enjoyment from watching other people enjoy my house that I have and along the way I’ve forgotten how to enjoy it myself and I could, actually, just toss this burden aside, bury the $500K I sunk into this house, and live a new dream in a new house, live the life that awaits me, rather than the one I envisioned (or someone else envisioned).
So for now, I’ve poured a glass of wine and will go outside on the front porch and smoke a cig and contemplate the bayou and new dreams. And I might cry.