Sunday, Aug 31, 2003
On the 'coping' front, every now and then I come across an emotion I'm really not sure how to internalize. I spent nearly two weeks working with Mom and Susie on Dad's house last month, and I got updates every few days from Mom on how things were progressing. Repairing tiles, repainting, fixing a latch, getting an appraisal.
Susie and I both carefully thought it through, and decided that neither of us would be living in the house in any reasonable timeframe and, as fond as I am of the house, I'm in the Bay Area for good as far as I can see, and Sherman Oaks home prices are peaking, especially with rising interest rates. It's the right thing to do.
Even though I've been a part of the process at every step; even though I went through the house to say goodbyes when Ammy and I came to Los Angeles a week ago on the last stop of our road trip, I got a profound pang when I looked up the listing for my Dad's house online today.
While walking though it, empty and repainted, amidst real estate agents scoping it out, I was okay. Somehow I was still protecting it, watching over and cradling my dad's home as I can't watch over him anymore. Seeing it as an anonymous listing on the internet, distilled to a 320x240 picture and a handful of database fields, I just feel like I'm leaving a memory and a spirit naked and unprotected amidst strangers.
I need a home of my own. The townhouse I'm moving in to next week reminds me of Dad in a way I can't describe, and a few ways I can. Something about the walls reminds me of the condo he had over 20 years ago in San Francisco, and the flowerpots and drip watering system that I asked the landlord to leve in reminds me of when Dad, Susie and I would go to Grandma's in the Spring and set up tomato plants and drip systems on the terraced steps alongside the house, and when we did the same in my Uncle's backyard years later, bringing forth tiny pumpkinds and zuccini into the world.
I want to make things grow. I want to nurture. I'm really looking forward to unpacking a few of my 'Dad boxes' so I can wear some of my memories externally. My insides are getting a little too crowded, and I need to breathe.
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