When you return “home” after packing up a lifetime, and the Sunday shift is going well until one of the bartenders gets quite suddenly and unexpectedly trashed, and you are left having to pick up the pieces as you attempt to explain it all to your boss on the phone, you are apt to wonder about the point of it all.
When you have spent a weekend packing up a lifetime after you moved your new life into a new apartment only a week ago, you are apt to wonder whether either of these places ever was or ever will feel like “home.”
When you have spent a weekend packing up a lifetime, you realize it is not the 20-year old sofa you bought from a friend 15 years ago, or your grandfather-in-law’s antique chair that gives you pause. Rather, it is the 1990 “Week at a Glance” calendar that is filled with scribbled notes about deadlines and appointments that compels you to stop packing and sit down on the floor and read. Tuesday, July 17, meet at noon with Mrs. Suarez and call Linda W. The call seems to have been more important than the meeting, because I had scrawled a star next to it. I remember the details of neither.
Eighteen years ago I lived in the big house when my kids were very little. I wrote part-time as a freelancer and worked full-time trying to parlay a kids’ party service into a thriving business. The business did, indeed, take off–too fast, too soon. Too much success too soon can be as negative as the opposite start-up result. As the sole proprietor of this too successful business, I couldn’t sustain the pace and ultimately put the business to rest at the height of its success.
One note in the Week-at-a-Glance calendar refers to a 7-year-old boy who wanted an outer space birthday party. Who is that 25-year-old young man today, I wonder.
When you pack up a lifetime, one cabinet at a time, the next cabinet seems even more full than the last. Minton china–the pattern of which you agonized over before you registered it. Waterford crystal wine glasses and water goblets, any number of silver candle sticks–wedding gifts all that graced an elegant dining room table for dinner parties and holiday meals. How was it that I was able to prepare multiple dishes and present a festive buffet each year for 75 guests? How did I even know 75 people to invite? Today, I can barely cope with re-heating a store-bought rotisserie chicken and steaming fresh vegetables for myself.
My early morning flight from D.C. took off to the west along the Potomac River. I stared down from my upgraded window seat and saw the neighborhood in which I grew up. Seconds later, there was the street on which the big house still stood, where my kids lived through grade school. Moments before, when I could barely see through my tears, there was the in-town house I helped pack up, the interior of which I will never see again.
Time should tell if my new apartment will someday feel like home. Time should tell if I am even close to being the restaurant gal my GM thought I was when he hired me.
Time should tell if the bitter part of sweet will soon fade.
Time should tell if happiness will soon battle sadness, and win.
Time will always tell, because you can’t turn it back, especially when there is no turning back.