The real estate broker came to the apartment yesterday. This place doesn't feel a bit like Menopausal Stoners World Headquarters when Buzz Kill is here discussing business, or when I'm packing away my treasures. The painters will be here soon, and there's minor destruction involved, so I'm keeping The Treasures safe until they're packed even more safely for the movers and carefully unwrapped in my new home. That's when this place feels like my home of seventeen years. I've only been thinking about this place as HQ for a little while. Before that, it was the marital residence.
It will be somebody else's residence soon enough - but not before Christmas. I'm glad that we'll have Christmas here. And if the place doesn't sell before Thanksgiving, we're not even going to have it on the market again until February which means I'll be here until school's out. That's actually my preference, because of Velvet and because if I finish out the school year, my health insurance is paid through the end of August. Those are practical considerations, however. In my head, I'm already in Austin.
Packing away my treasures has triggered a few bouts of tears. No prolonged crying jags. Just intense moments when I've given into the sadness of the end of our marriage and of the family as we knew it. I imagine Buzz Kill had similar feelings back when he collected his belongings and vacated the premises. It would have been different for him, though, because he felt enraged and betrayed. So did I.
It's some shit when a marriage falls apart. Now the family is in the final stages of separating, but it doesn't feel like we're breaking apart. It feels like we're exactly where we need to be.
Velvet is now a permanent resident of Syracuse. He's nowhere near "on his own," but he's learning how to make his own home. I set up his environment for him, with his collection of tiki men, his artifacts from the family trip to India and Nepal when he was ten, his XBox 360 and all his games and DVDs. He left the Monty Python collection, but he took the whole dang set of original Star Treks. And of course, his Rancor Monster. It's on the shelves behind a Tiki Tumbler that Buzz Kill got for him in Vegas just above the shelf where his hookah is stored in a handy black carrying case with yellow straps.
And yes, that is a Shiner Beer box filled with Frisbees and fireworks next to the heater. I left the radiator out of the picture because I didn't want to upset my mother, and I'll remind Velvet that it's probably a good idea to move the sparklers before the heat comes on. But somehow, it just made me feel better to leave a Shiner beer box filled with fireworks next to the radiator. If I were still in therapy, my shrink would spend twenty minutes on that foolishness. Now I know it's just my way of keeping life exciting, and besides, the place is insured - and it's all Just Stuff anyway.
Granny the Ho's Ashes and my tiara aren't Just Stuff, though, and neither are the Tiki Men and the Rancor Monster. Or favorite Christmas ornaments and books from childhood. If all your treasures disappeared in an instant, in a hurricane like Katrina, for example, the experiences attached to that Stuff would endure. Stuff is merely a physical reminder, but it's comforting and grounds you in a place.
In The Quiet Man, Maureen O'Hara was insistent about getting her dowry because she wanted her things around her when she made a home as a married woman. John Wayne didn't get it, since he was rich in The Quiet Man and could buy her all new things. And if there has been a disaster, like Katrina, and you've lost all your things - you'll live and build a new home (assuming you weren't poor and left to drown).
I'll make a new home, too. When I left Texas to make a life in New York, I held on to some relationships. Sometimes the hold was tight, sometimes loose, but the grasp was always strong and secure. Over twenty years later, those relationships are as solid as ever. They have evolved, of course, but my friends and I have maintained the connections despite geography and life changes. I'll be able to do that with some friends in New York, too, but separating is still hard.
I never meant to separate from Buzz Kill, that's a fact. I've saved a few things from our wedding in a wicker sewing basket for years and years - a photograph of him in his tux looking at the ring before the ceremony, the white kid ballet flats I only wore as a bride, and a few other trinkets. As I put that basket into the storage box, I remembered the time when I believed Buzz Kill and I would be together forever and ever. I've got no regrets, except that once we'd been together a few years, I didn't have enough faith in the marriage to have another child. That was a good choice because I'd be tied to New York and Buzz Kill even longer if we had another child - and the time for all that has passed.
Buzz Kill and I are in a good place, though. A couple of days ago, on the day the staff reported back to school, the office asked us to fill out a form with current contact information. I put Buzz Kill down as my emergency contact. For a while, just after the divorce, my two best girl friends were my emergency numbers because, truly, Buzz Kill would have been glad to shove me in front of a bus. Neither one of those friends live in New York City full time anymore, so I had to come up with a new emergency contact. Now that the feelings of rage and betrayal have passed and we've both come to an understanding of sorts, he's the best choice. He and I are not significant players in each others daily lives, but we can rely on each other when times are tough.
I suppose my mother will be my emergency number when I get to Texas, but I have to confess that I'm feeling a strong pull towards my lawyer, the Man from San Antone. The connection between us remains strong. It's not Romantic, exactly, but it's something.
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