I am supposed to be packing up the van with boxes of utensils and duvets and all the belongings that my turtleshell can’t accommodate. I'm supposed to be moving to my new apartment in Cleveland Heights. Instead I am sitting at the top of the steps between my parents bedroom and the living room. I got caught in thought on my way back from filching a cup of coffee from their Kurieg.
This is my childhood home. I’ve spent the majority of my life stomping about here. I’ve touched just about every square inch countless times. Down in the living room when my parents had been away, my siblings and I would tip over the worn denim covered couch and incite Beanie Baby wars. Undoubtedly someone would catch the hard eye of some celebration-themed bear to the head. As a teen in my bedroom I had stayed up late sitting on the floor pouring over my biology notes for an exam — I was certain anything less than an A would doom my future. Before then when I shared the room, my sister and I would scrunch into odd shapes beneath our sheets and the other would guess how the other was contorted.
And I remember one winter night after dinner my brother and I rolled snowballs around the barn in the backyard. It must have been a full moon because it was bright and I remember having thought that my mother would never let us go back out to play after dinner. I’m sure I returned inside to pull the grocery-bagged feet out of a soggy pair of boots. I would have dropped hats gloves and coat in a laundry basket that appear in the kitchen in the winter. It felt like a marvelous dream.
Now these rooms have changed. And the ones that haven’t are simply the same because my dad hasn’t gotten around to redoing a little of this or a little of that (all projects of course starting this way become an industrial undertaking). Here where I am sitting did not exist just a few years ago. There was no second story. These steps led to the attic, a place as a child I only visited a handful of times. From this point I feel like I can survey that growing up process. Even though so many things have changed in this home, it is still home. It is the same walls and space — they have witnessed it all. So much happened here.
A few weeks ago I left my apartment in Athens, having finished grad school. I was a little blue to leave it. It had been the perfect sanctuary from the turmoil of grad school and the social anxieties that come with being alone in a new place. But those aren’t the things you dwell on once you leave a place. Those hardships seem to stay behind. They aren’t what I’ll be telling people about when I’m old and gray. Selective memory lets me say that it was the best little apartment and nothing will compare to the unreasonably large deck where I read and watched groundhogs. Selective memory lets me acknowledge growing pains that happened in this childhood home, but highlight those good times.
Now I uproot again. Moving things and more things around to a new location. A new enclosed space where I will choose to spend hours just being, just growing. Have I gotten to the time when i am growing older, not just growing up? I am choosing to project positive selective memories for the little apartment already. Its probably just another place I will pass through, I mean the lease is only for 8 months, but I am ready to make it my dwelling.