This House Is Home 4
Today was about resting, about cleaning, about persevering, about the Bhagavad Gita's admonition that life is suffering, at least if one defines hard work and gratification and disappointment "suffering." Today, in a word, was about D.
Cleaning out my apartment was endlessly more emotional than I had anticipated. And it's not just D: I've spent 15 percent of my life in that apartment, about as much time as the early portion of my life of which I have little memory; all of my legal career until now; all of the only relationship of my adult life that felt real.
It has been so very long since my desire for someone has been unequivocal.
Today I wore those five years as grime under my fingernails, dirt streaking my sweaty face, grit in my nose and sinuses. With each sneeze, I emitted the past, bits and pieces of an unmemorable parade of short-term party-guests, and those with mass and consequence, including the most consequential. Every hairpin I retrieved in advance of the vacuum -- to avoid its clattering -- reminded me of her, who left a small pile of hairpins on my nightstand the first time she spent the night, those and a spill of prayer beads she had worn for the several months that separated her month in India from our first date -- beads and hairpins which I gathered, grinning, in her wake the following morning and tucked into the cupped collar around my kitschy thrift-store lamp, where they would remain for five years.
Today, with so many other things, I set that lamp by the curb. As time goes on I have less and less of her, and yet still . . . letting go, completely, only seems more implausible.
But of course I let her go long ago in every meaningful way -- it's more the memory of the memory of her I hold onto now, when I hold at all, like double hearsay, a proposition the reliability of which is twice attenuated, twice intermediated, and unreliable to the second exponent, a fiction, a fallacy, mere conjecture. A conjuring that necessarily fails, a file unfound.
In a word, a lie.
But today, I wore something true, as her vestiges clung to me, infinitesimal traces of her roused into flight by broom and vacuum.
And it was more, by far, than her that led me to the verge of a tears -- it was 15 percent, a parade, house parties, a half-decade of waking beneath the same stained glass.
Today I wore it, I wore it all, and was humbled.
Home, my new home, waited with its promise of future years, its threat of same, all its size and splendor and history and imperfection.
Tonight is the fifth night I sleep here, but the first I could sleep nowhere else. It may be home sweet home, and I am full of hope. But it may be something else. It is, in any case, mine, and if need be I'll hold her wheel until we hit the oceanfloor.