I have named it The Long Goodbye.
There were times when I tricked myself into believing it would never come and there were other times when I begged for it to arrive. A year ago…six months ago… this goodbye was the gentle ticking of a watch not meant to be found-only heard sporadically for a subtle reminder that time was moving forward and I would have to as well. And then it would be quiet; the ticking buried somewhere unknown. But now it is the Big Ben of a tock; it reverberates between my ears; it wakes me at night and pulses throughout the day. It is here now, this goodbye.
It is time to close the door to this house for the last time and leave it for someone else to open. I love this house. I loved that house.
It’s a strange experience to take your house down, frame by frame, dish by dish, day to day. I tried to pack everything I could not physically see first, therefore prolonging the sight of empty walls and bare shelves. But turns out you can’t just stop packing when you actually have to move, unless it’s that random closet in the garage because I don’t know what the fuck is in there and I’m going to just go ahead and leave it alone and consider that my housewarming gift to the new owner. I’m pretty sure everyone can use like…5 half-empty cans of random paint colors, some outdated lightbulbs and a rusted utility knife. I mean…you’re welcome. But the time has come now when I’ve run out of closed doors to pack so the smiles on the walls must begin to come down. Each morning as I make my way to The Blessed Coffee, this bareness startles me; the blank canvas not an inspiration but a reminder. A reminder that it is coming fast now, this goodbye. It is unstoppable now, this goodbye.
I’m not prepared, but I’m ready.
I’m ready to say goodbye.
I’m ready to say goodbye to this house where the doors were always open and the food was always shared. I’m ready to say goodbye to the familiar sound of the neighbors playing ball outside, to kids wandering in and out searching for their buddies. I’m ready to say goodbye to the competitive summer parking, the-oh shit I forgot to move my car-street cleaning, the Japanese cherry tree in the front yard, it’s growth astounding me. I’m ready to say goodbye to waving to my neighbors through our kitchen windows, ready to say goodbye to the smell of their barbecue challenging the smell of my chocolate chip cookies. I’m ready to say goodbye to the little spot on the wall dedicated to the Children’s Growth. I think of how it will be painted over. I think of the person who’s job it will be to erase that part of this house. Will they stop and look at it? Will they stop and read the dates? Will they run their fingers over it and think of who these Children were who’s growth was marked upon that wall? Or will they not even notice? Have they seen too many such things to stop and take a look? Or perhaps, sensing how special it must have been…perhaps they avert their eyes, almost as if they have stumbled across a journal entry, a private moment that wasn’t meant for them to see and take special care to gracefully run their paintbrush over the pencil marks of 11 years.
My chapter has ended in this house and someone else’s will begin. I hope their doors are always open and their food is always shared. I hope they make their own pencil marks and roll in the neighbors trash cans every Monday afternoon. But most of all, I just hope we won’t be forgotten. Because we won’t forget any one of you, 28th Street.
It’s not long anymore…it’s just goodbye.
We’ll see you around.