My condo sold and finally closed about two weeks ago. I lived there since May 1, 1994....Sixteen years.
On the afternoon that it finally changed hands, before I had to give up my keys at the closing, I took a private walk through the empty unit and around the grounds.
This was after the tedious months of making the deal, cleaning, and packing. I met deadlines, moved my belongings out on schedule, and suffered delay after delay.... until the buyer's mortgage bank decided it need no longer be cautious.
Fatigue and uncertainty (would the deal fall through? what then?) overtook any feelings of nostalgia I might have had, even while I sorted through old pictures and journals that I put away and never looked at until I had to pack them again.
It was usually very quiet there in the afternoons, but this was almost a deathly quiet, a sacred quiet. I expected to look at the bare walls, the plain grey carpet, the new kitchen and the sliding door out onto the tranquil and tree-shaded balcony, and feel a detached relief.
I looked out my bedroom window at the abandoned nest of the robin that made her home there every year. I was reminded again of my own pet cockatiel, and the time I first found an egg in the little cage she favored above my refrigerator. I remembered the little memorial service when she finally passed away.
I moved into the brick-walled hallway and it never looked so beautiful....a throwback to an old architectural design, one I was sure I would not see again, beaming with reflected sun and obscured in arty shadow.
The pond out back still had the bench where I would sit and read on my days off. I walked Maggie there on those amusing days where she would visit and make friends of everyone she met. I walked the pond path around which I jogged untold number of miles, listened to the unusual sound of bullfrogs, and observed neighbors I never met passing lazy aftenoons with fishing poles.
I took one last look at my unit before I locked the door one more time. I left it as I came to it. But this time, its arms were open not in welcome, but in release. It was letting me go. I no longer belonged to it...and it no longer belonged to me....
With heaving sobs as I drove away I tried to purge the images of my grandfather, and of Mark when we first met,and of Mark's young boys, and of my little pet bird, and of the friends I made there, and of the wall-painting parties, and of the long summer walks, and the poems written and the sunsets photographed and the wild geese and other birds and the neon from the hotel across the pond reflected in the still night water, and the books I read, and the drafty winters as the snow piled up on the deck....
And they fixed in my mind like the fading photographs that I packed up and took with me to my new home.