It’s strange, sometimes, to be in a brand new place. A place with no history of my own attached to it. I have no memories of riding my bike to the park, hoping that Ross had a baseball game so I could sit way back behind the field and watch, too shy to say hello. The slide I went down hundreds of thousands of times with my brothers is all the way across the country, if it’s even still there. The soccer fields HERE hold someone else’s wins, losses, and orange peels.
I drove by it a few times in my most recent stint living in California – the house I grew up in. It’s a different color now, pale blue instead of "not pink." The front yard is different, too. The Asian pear tree is gone, the ice plant on the hill outside the kitchen replaced with something different.
I drove by it, but I never went in. My brother did once, on a visit. He walked through the house, the remolded kitchen, our old bedrooms (I wonder if the back bedroom still has a dent in the wall from when I kicked it in anger at being sent to my room). He said the old chicken coop in the back that we decorated with puffy paint as our Kid Only Fort was still there, but the swing set Dad built was not.
I debated it, especially in the final weeks. I wondered what it would be like to say goodbye. To close, once and for all, that chapter of my life. Would it bring closure? Or would it be too much?
So many of the memories from that house are great: perfect and idyllic scenes from a suburban childhood. Bike rides and slumber parties and sibling pranks and disastrous cooking attempts and block-wide games of kick-the-can at dusk.
But somehow I doubt that those would be the memories to come to life had I gone in. The few poisonous ones, I think, would have sneaked up and around, an unseen mist of confusion and pain and shame and things I’ve dealt with, so many times, so many ways. They wouldn’t bring me down again, like the once did (or tried to, rather). But, still. Why do it? Why feel those things again? Why remember things on purpose?
I wrestle with the decision I made, the decision to avoid, to preserve, to keep my forward momentum. I feel, in a way, that not going back was a small victory for the ghost of abuse. That I conceded a small part of the victory I have fought so fucking hard to win.
Then again, maybe not. Look at me now. No, really. Do. I’m happy. So happy. I have a husband whom I am so in love with, and who amazes me every day with his kindness and love. I have a son who…defies words. He crawls up to me now and demands kisses. only to turn his head at the last second and laugh as I make an exaggerated smacking noise against the air. He plays peek-a-boo, pulling his blankie up over his face and waiting until you say "where’s Xander" to pull it down and grin. I have parents who love me, and have supported me (well, except when I told them I was voting for Obama, but hey, no one’s perfect!) (that’s what they said, amiright?).
So, really, who cares. Who cares if I went back, or why. I did what I’ve learned to do: make the decision that will keep me well, keep my happy, keep me on track.
It’s just a house, after all. Hell, JS and I have gone through THREE of them out here, before we ever moved.