Sunday, July 31, 2016
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.