The Short Goodbye

The day we closed on the sale of our house, I heard my footsteps echo off the blank walls for the first time. Eleven years ago we had moved into a fully carpeted residence with five pets and a garage full of construction materials left behind by an overwhelmed seller. During our final walk through, this house has never felt so empty and yet brimming with memory.

We had pulled off the impossible in the two short weeks between listing and selling. An offer came just 24 hours after the For Sale sign was planted in our front yard. We had been prepared for a long haul, the humiliating feedback from picky showings, the games of inspection, but not such a fast response. The only condition–that we be out in fourteen days, handing over the house keys on Friday the 13th and a full moon.

Our next accommodations already chosen, we wouldn’t be bringing much furniture to decorate the 900 square feet of a third-floor apartment with no elevator. There wasn’t much time to distribute a normal suburban household, but we did it. I have the stories (and bruises) to prove it. In the coming weeks, I’ll tell you more about what we did, and what we are still doing, to transition to a lighter, and more enlightened, presence.

On that last morning, while the sun beamed down onto buds of flowers I would never see bloom, the last fingerprints of our existence wiped from the shiny surfaces meant for a new owner, I didn’t have time to reflect on all the life moments shared with this house. There was only a quick exit through an open door, and a new destination down the road.

Perhaps this is the best way.

9 thoughts on “The Short Goodbye

  1. Incredible! Twenty-four hours and fourteen days may be signs that it was meant to be, and you’ve done it the best way. I so look forward to reading your transition stories!

    1. Hi Bonny! Thanks so much for hanging in there during these two long months of silence. I hope to post regularly again in July. In the meantime, I’ve enjoyed your posts, particularly those of your garden. Happy summer.

  2. So good to find you here again!

    Goodbyes are the worst. Yet life insists on them. The government tells us that corporations are people. I say homes are people. To separate from them is to separate from family. I loved your juxtaposition of “empty yet brimming” — exactly right. I also warmed to the image of the move with five pets and a garage full of construction flotsam contrasted to the post-jettison move to the 900-foot third-floor walk-up. Images as eloquent as those in your photographs.

    I too look forward to reading more.

    1. Home is indeed part of the family. I’m realizing just how much it means as I grow older. In my younger years I was always looking ahead, now it’s mostly looking back. Hopefully I’ll learn to enjoy the present now that I have a lot less bathrooms to clean. Always love your insights, Maureen.

  3. Shirah

    I continue to mourn the loss of your beautiful garden and those buds you’ll never see bloom. (How does a master gardener settle into a small apartment?) After all, I’ve been following your blog and beautiful images and commentary for some time. So, I’m looking forward to hearing more about your new home and your way forward, to share in this new lifestyle.

    1. The lack of garden will only be temporary, Shirah, but yes it does feel strange not to be pulling weeds with all this rain we’ve been having. There are still plenty of flowers and sunsets and dewy spiderwebs on my walks around the village, so I have a bounty of subject matter. And all my garden tools are waiting for me in the garage. 😉

  4. Karuni

    A swift clean death, not a slow painful one. But even a swift clean death leaves a sense of loss lingering for a while.

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