Time Always Tells

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.







15 responses to “Time Always Tells”

  1. GC Avatar

    Long-time lurker here. i know it’s none of my or anyone else’s business, but i can’t help wondering if you’ll ever tell us what really happened between you and your ex(?)…

    Hope things work out for you in the end.

  2. Rick Avatar

    Captures that “another lifetime ago” feeling perfectly….


  3. Mike Avatar

    RG, sounds like your move to Florida may have become a bit more permanent? Hope you are coping OK with this.
    It was interesting hearing about your life in 1990 – amazing how events that were such a big deal are hard to even remember so many years later. Pretty neat to wonder what happened to those people who helped shape those memories many years ago…

  4. Julie Avatar

    Sometimes it’s fun to reminisce about things that happened years ago, thought it’s usually bittersweet for me. Good memories, but time sure does fly. And things change in ways I never expected.

    You’ll have a home again. The last place was temporary and felt like it. This new place sounds more safe, more calm, more comfortable… more like home, perhaps.

  5. Christine in LA Avatar

    I just wanted to send a hug and I hope things start feeling more like home. And I’m sure you are the Restaurant Gal your GM thought you were when he hired you. I bet he sits at home or in his office wondering if he is the good GM everyone thinks he is.


  6. JoeInVegas Avatar

    Sorry about the changes, but things happen, hope Florida becomes more for you.

  7. Brave Astronaut Avatar

    As a writer, you of course realize that you have just started a new chapter of the book about your life. We have all enjoyed reading along with you. I hope (as I am sure that all of your readers do) that this turn of the page will give you all the happiness you deserve.

  8. Tinkerb Avatar

    I have had much the same situation, selling my house and moving into an apartment, 4 years ago, and again just recently, its astounding how much clutter we collect and the reluctance to do away with it can be quite painful. (We are hoping to clear out the Laundry room to fit a washer and dryer in there, and we rented a store room, at outrageous rates to give us more time to make up our minds). Hope it was not too traumatic for you. As most things of value we gave to my step daughter, and I suppose passed on the responsibility for holiday gatherings as well, the silver candle sticks that were purchased for $25 so long ago, and the Crystal I had selected and accumulated over the years went to her. Clothes? Dump them. Old paperwork, the scribblings of a lifetime, out! Tools, the detritus of decades in the garage (we picked an apartment with a garage!) all went.

    And now I’m free, but its some how depressing, but we are glad its over.

    It’s not a new sensation… Just painful, clearing out a lifetime of professional awards, old tax returns, struggling to fit our furniture into a tighter space.

  9. Mary Tiler More Avatar

    That’s a lot to get through in a weekend. So congrats, and welcome back. Must be nice to be home.

  10. MenSuck Avatar

    Wow RG, where do you find the energy?? I did laundry, dishes and vaccumed this weekend and was tired out. If you’re taking vitamins, please share! 🙂

  11. Kim Ayres Avatar

    Beautifully written, RG

  12. spider Avatar

    dear rg, may the transformation be smooth and graceful.

  13. Zazzy Avatar

    Still out here rooting for you. I wish I could tell you how much you have amazed me during all this. It is hard to move, it is hard to start over, it is hard to get out there and do the social thing, but you are doing it. Wherever this path takes you, whatever comes in this new chapter – you are really amazing.

  14. zen waitress Avatar
    zen waitress

    That song has helped me through so many hard times (not the simon version, that version). Change is so hard. But in the end, when you know the answer (even if it’s to a question you didn’t ask), you can’t ignore it and go on living a lie. Sarah McSomething said “weep not for your memeories.” I won’t weep for mine if you don’t weep for yours.
    Peace out my sister.