I remain unsettled, but not haunted. Startled by the house’s new eccentricities, the sound of the fridge turning on, the roof stretching, the water pressure in the taps.
Each new thing reminds me that while the trappings may look similar—the dried mustard carpet that screamed “boy” to my parents, and became mine—the house has settled in new ways, and I have yet to understand its new rhythms.
There is a sense of anticipation, but it is not mine, and after a few days, I realize I cannot be here, not like this, that I am more comfortable with stories than relatives, that I have been engaged in a 7 year divorce, and this feels like an awkward trip to a once-familiar home filled with other people’s livings and lovings.
There are new patterns of talking, dominated by children and marriages, and parents, whose short declarative sentences, “do this, let’s go, come here” and constant interrogatives, “do you want to eat? Are you hungry? What do you want to do?” seem much too familiar, and though not directed at me, hang in the air, linger and flavor the ways in which we talk to each other, through proxies: “may I borrow your child?”
The trees have acquired more rings, the plants now reach through my bedroom window, there are new stains on the carpet, and I find the bathroom commode both too high and too narrow.
My much-expanded body is closer to the walls and, though fully grown when I left, I feel taller—perhaps I have grown taller, perhaps we never stop growing.
I have to reason with mattresses and seats that have become accustomed to other bodies, to move into spaces made comfortable by others’ morphologies, and it’s curious to see which pieces of furniture decline to cooperate. My mother’s new couches will not yield, and every time I try to sit on them they slant this way and that, push my legs into awkward positions, have no give, tell me, as only couches can, that they are not for me.
A beautiful rosemary bush grows outside my window.
Today, I will pick avocados.