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  • Writer's picturemaggiehsmith07

Close to Never

This morning, while driving to get some coffee, I gave my armpits a cautionary whiff. Did I forget to put deodorant on? I just showered. Oh. You know what that is? Onions. I ate a sandwich in here yesterday and I think I must have lost an onion in here….

This is how things are going, people. On a positive note – my armpits are well deodorized with one of my plentiful sticks of natural deodorant. It works. Really. Unless you're Andrea. It gave her a rash. So I have a supply for 2 people when it's just me - - slowly chipping away at the stockpile.

Today we signed the purchase and sale on our home. This is the moment you strive for in the Massachusetts home sale process. So I was momentarily ecstatic and relieved. Then Andrea had to ruin shit by pointing out that it was “bittersweet”.

Oh my god. We’re selling this place and moving to Virginia. This place. Have you ever seen Father of the Bride, with Steve Martin? I love that movie. It was released in December 20, 1991. I was 17 and this movie portrayed how I thought my life was supposed to turn out - - you marry some nice guy with a standard, American name. You both have nice, white collar jobs and aspire for a home with a white picket fence and 1.84 children because that was the number of children people were having in 1991.

And yet, even while I was watching that movie, I knew that was not the trajectory my life was headed in. I had enlisted in the Army on Friday, the 13th of December 1991, you see. Annie, the bride in Father of the Bride, most certainly was not enlisted. In the movie, Steve Martin has a line that’s narrated: “…this woman? This "woman." But she's not a woman, she's just a kid. And she's leaving us...I realized at that moment that I was never going to come again and see Annie at the top of the stairs. Never going to see her again at our breakfast table in her nightgown and socks. I suddenly realized what was happening. Annie was all grown up and leaving us, and something inside began to hurt.”

I always carried that line with me for some reason. It hasn't left me in 28 years. Today I thought, “This place? But it’s not a ‘place’ – it’s our home and we’re selling it… I realized at that moment that I was never going to come again and see Andrea or the pets at the tops of the stairs or sit in my library room. I suddenly realized what was happening. We were leaving our home, and something inside began to hurt.” Fuck.

Well. Okay. We're not at the point of "not never" yet. But we're getting close to never. I've been in denial. Simultaneously selling one home and buying a new place – and, make no mistake, it’s still a place – while working full-time allows you to focus on the tasks. Not the feelings behind or associated with the task. I prefer this because feelings? UGH. They can suck a bag of ducks. That's a phrase Andrea coined back in 2013 when we were selling our condo and some completely inappropriate buyer (she did not have a job or cash to pay for the place) made an offer and demands. Andrea texted me: "She can suck a bag of ducks." Feelings. Feelings can suck a bag of ducks. And - because you must get shit done. Move the process forward. You don't really have time to dwell on these pesky intruders. So while it’s not never at Parkhurst Drive, it’s 12 days. The movers are coming on March 9th to pack and load. We close on the new place on March 12th.

Right now, someone just read this and realized this for the first time and is shocked. I’m sorry. I’m shocked too. I get it.

So when I think about the new place, I think, "We don't have to do anything to it."

After all, it's 13 years young and well maintained. I order paint samples from Clare and Samplize anyway. I daydream about painting the bright green hallway wall by the guest rooms a less jolting color. I don't need to do this. What I need is to transform 1043 Amanda Court from place, to home. I buy a new shower curtain to preserve the illusion that I have some control in this great big transition.

I need to convince myself and you that I am a put together person who doesn’t spill onions in her car and fear it’s her armpits.

Hold on, to me as we go

As we roll down this unfamiliar road And although this wave is stringing us along Just know you're not alone Cause I'm gonna make this place your home Settle down, it'll all be clear Don't pay no mind to the demons They fill you with fear The trouble it might drag you down If you get lost, you can always be found Just know you're not alone Cause I'm gonna make this place your home

Home, by Phillip Phillips

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