Sunday, July 31, 2016

Leaving Home

Last week I house sat for Rico while he was in India for business. It was wonderful to spend time with the cats (he has all three of them, which makes me feel like a bad cat mom for "abandoning" my babies but it's the better situation for everyone...except possibly Rico, who still has to deal with Pria waking him up at 5:45am demanding food). Anyhow, it was a relaxing few days of sitting on the couch binge-watching Weeds, eating ice cream, and snuggling with the cats.

It was also quite strange to be back in the place that once was my house, our house. Rico and I continue to be on very good terms with each other (I am truly grateful for our drama-free split) but being back there, in what is now His house, was emotionally difficult. Everything is still so familiar. I know that house intimately, I could navigate it with my eyes closed. I know where the light switches are, how to jiggle the downstairs bathroom door so it opens without sticking, where to find the Lysol and extra toilet paper, how to turn on the tv and the stereo. It is all so comfortable, like slipping into an old skin.

Except certain things are different (and, of course, I am different...the slow metamorphosis into my identity as a single person becoming ever more noticeable). I am clearing out my stuff bit by bit. The contents of drawers emptied, paintings removed, closets vacated. I notice Rico got new drinking glasses and cutting boards. There is "man brand" lotion and soap in the bathroom. And the smell of the house is subtly changed. I can't describe it, really, but suppose what I notice is the absence of myself, of my perfume and sweat and cooking and tears.

The closest thing I have for comparison is when I returned to my mom's house in Albuquerque after spending my junior year abroad in Brazil. The house was nearly exactly the same, but not quite. Home but not home anymore. Familiar but no longer fits. That was also a big moment of transition for me because I had decided to skip my senior year of high school and go straight to college. So it was more than just a re-entry after a year of international living. It marked a major chapter change, the start of a physical move as well as a shifting identity and a breakup of sorts. Much like now.

Being in Rico's house last week led me to process through a lot of emotion surrounding our split. Which is good, because I don't want to find out five or ten years down the line that I didn't adequately feel or deal with all this stuff. But still, not easy. Not easy at all.

Mostly I feel sadness, but not in the regretful "I-wish-I-could-go-back" sort of way. No, sadness as in mourning. Sadness as in acceptance. Sadness as in realizing that two people and an ocean of love are sometimes not enough to "make it work." And a strange, quiet happiness in understanding that despite all of that I am okay. Rico is okay. We are okay.


Mandi | No Apathy Allowed said...

It is uncanny how much I can identify with this post! Nearly three years ago, my partner of nine years and I split up. It was difficult for sure, but we remain friends and there is no regret on either side. I've been in his (formerly our) apartment a few times since then and had similar feelings of belonging while not belonging. Though much has stayed the same and I know all the nooks and crannies, it definitely does not feel like home anymore. It's somehow a strange and bittersweet feeling, but is proof that life does continue and is only getting better. :) Wishing you lots of strength during this transition!

Ali la Loca said...

˜Mandi - I am heartened by your shared experience of separation without major drama or regret. It's such a strange experience to be back in the space of one's past, physically and emotionally. Life does continue, and I look forward to catching up on you and your new chapter via your blog. Big hugs and thank you.

Anonymous said...

It sounds like you are in a very healthy place! It's interesting to hear about different perspectives. It feels like a lifetime ago that I was married, even though we've only been split up for a little over a year. A chapter closed. We are like strangers. I would try to feel sad about it but I think we always were, even when we were married to one another.

Anonymous said...

Sorry, that was me...Monkey/Anu

Marcia (123 blog) said...

What a beautiful post - I understand what you mean perfectly when you likened it to leaving home and then returning.

Speaking of that home, it is beautiful - I feel (and see) your touches everywhere.


Ali la Loca said...

~Marcia - Thank you. It's such a bittersweet sentiment to leave a home and return to find out it's not quite home anymore. I will miss the aesthetic part of Casa Cali as much as the nice memories we created there. Both are hard to leave behind, but in my gut I know beautiful things lie ahead as well in this new chapter.