It was dark outside as I walked into each room, gave it one last check for our stuff, and snapped one last picture before turning off the light and closing the door for the last time.
I spent the morning wrapping the last of the Christmas presents and adding ribbons, bows and name tags so that they could be dropped off at Mary and Bill’s. Then last minute laundry and packing. I really wanted to have stuff in the car before David got home but that didn’t happen.
This has been a marathon move, almost two weeks passed from taking the first things to storage to packing the last of our things into our Kia Forte. I think this has been the hardest move for me yet. It’s been strange to pack up all of our stuff, and have our worldly possessions (minus a few things too precious or too essential to store) fit inside an 8×10 storage locker. On the one hand I can’t believe we have so much STUFF. Do we really need so much STUFF? But on the other hand, I can’t believe that after 34 years on this planet, and 4 years together that’s all we’ve accumulated.
In our last few nights, sleeping on a double sized memory foam mattress on the floor of our bedroom, I’d light a candle so that we could settle down into sleepy mode with less harsh lighting. I haven’t been sleeping well for a while now and I’m really trying to fix that. I realized that my mirror was catching the reflection of the flames, so I set it up to project those flames onto the wall, and pretended that it was a roaring fire in a fireplace. It fueled my imagination for where we will finally end up. I would love for us to end up in a forever home with a fireplace.
I kept asking David if we’re crazy… If we were making a mistake in moving out with nowhere to move to. He would chuckle and say probably! And that would make me feel better. I’ve lived most of my life just kind of going with the flow, with no ridged well formed plans, but a general sense where I was headed. I always had four walls to call mine (though one time they weren’t attached to the ceiling… Loft in Toronto… Not nearly as nice as it sounds). I know that David and I will be fine as long as we’re together and we trust and rely on each other. I know that we have places to stay for all of December and part of January and February.
We’re homeless by choice… In my eyes that makes it better! We have some cash and we know what we’d like to go, see and do. I hope that we will be able to get through at least a good chunk of our list, but that entirely depends on the money side of it. Worst case scenario, we stay with family for the holidays and then drop first and last on a new apartment, that’s really not so bad!
Traveling has always been a great dream of mine. I have always wanted to get out of North America. If things go right, that’s exactly what we’re doing! It’s a big scary world out there and we’ve had a whole lot of big scary right in our own back yard. I am looking forward to being a leaf on the wind and making amazing memories with David before putting down roots.
So Wednesday night, at least an hour later than I had hoped we’d leave I walked around to each room of our apartment, the place we had planned to start a family, I made sure we had everything, snapped a picture, turned off the light and closed the door.
I started with the loo… I remember migraine baths in the dark, and singing in the shower and dreaming of giving our babies their first baths in the tub. I remember blood and panic, and crying in the shower. No hot water between 8 and 11am, and that day when flushing the toilet sounded like an angry monster roaring from inside the wall… It was easy to turn off the lights and walk away from that.
Next was David’s office. I remember him working from there, I remember showing his boss turned good friend my growing belly. I remember playing No Man’s Sky together. I remember Kaiden walking in there to greet David, and David always welcoming him in no matter how much work he had to do. I remember picturing David doing the same with our own kids. I remember the lights burning out way more frequently than they should in a new building. I remember my wedding dress hung in the closet, one of David’s favourite photo’s he’s taken displayed on the table. I remember picking out his desk together. It was a little harder to close the door to that room.
Then our room. I rolled my eyes at the patch jobs in the corners that the building maintenance people promised that they would come to clean up and finish. I remember the drunk hollering from the parking lot and the time the car horn was going off for hours. I remember “I love you because”s before bed. I remember getting David to help me take pictures of the blankets I’d crocheted. I remember bed rest. I remember waking David up to time contractions. I remember trying to tilt the bed back using cushions from the couch. I remember putting the tree made of yarn in the window and the forest of reflections it made on the wall. I remember waking up slowly on Saturday mornings. I remember talking with David about baby names and what our kids would be like… I remember falling asleep with my head on David’s chest listening to his heartbeat and Bob Ross talking about the happy little trees he was making with a mix of Midnight Black, Phthalo Blue and Sap Green. I remember discussing where we should go in the world, looking at pictures of Belize, and discussing how nice it will be to get away from Ontario right when the weather is the worst! I knew it was time to turn off the lights and close the door.
Then the second room. The white hand of Saruman never came off of the window screen from when they were first installed. We’d got a two bedroom initially so that my mom could stay with us, and she did from time to time. The room had definitely been set up for her, but I remember standing in the doorway picturing it filled with baby things and wondering how I was going to break the news to her that we were going to turn it into a nursery and that we’d be figuring out how to make the office into a guest room too… I turned off the lights and closed the door.
The living room and kitchen were last. So many memories there! Pictures on the fridge: drawings and ultrasounds… Movies on the tv, Lego Marvel Avengers, Fru. Hot flashes, crocheted blankets, having people over and never enough seats! Laughter, tears, dishes, dinner, laundry… I remember sitting on the couch reading through the paperwork about Serophene and realizing that we could end up with multiples and David and I trying to figure out how to fit five infants into that apartment! Pictures on the walls… A memorial table for our girls… I remember the mouse I trapped in a Smartfood bag that I carried to the garbage room and dropped down the chute. I remember the sound of the guy across the hall singing as he left or came home. I remember the sunsets we could see while sitting on the couch and discussing whether or not Bob would have painted the sky like that. I remember feeling like Guelph too far from family and home, but walking though the door to that apartment and being home.
Leaving this apartment doesn’t take away the memories. It doesn’t change the past two years or the people we have become in that time. That place was a series of walls, a ceiling and a floor. We were lucky this place had windows! It was never meant to be our forever home. We had good times and bad times in that apartment, but it was time to turn off the lights and close the door.