She made an appointment to visit the house that was hers the day before.
She brought two friends along, who began as real estate specialists and have found roots in her heart. She arrived and saw that the new owners were parked in the garage. She later found their things in the house. Their work at redecorating had begun, and the bathroom lights were coming down. Dangling, actually.
She walked through each room.
She talked about something she had loved in each room.
“He always walked into that chandelier, anytime the kitchen table was moved for any reason,” she said.
“I bought the house for this kitchen,” she said.
“The deck was a gift to me from my church community,” she said.
“The wood floors were a gift to me from a blog reader,” she said.
“The faucet? He changed that as soon as we moved in. Not because there was anything wrong with the old one. Just because I mentioned I’d like one that was taller. So he replaced it. Which is how he made most of his decisions: there’s nothing wrong with it, but I can get her a better one.”
She looked at the washer and dryer, the space where she learned to be a mom, where she learned that love is not always a feeling. Sometimes it’s clean underwear and folded undershirts.
She walked into the bedroom.
The sunlight shone on the carpet, lit up the walls in the bare room.
She lay on the floor.
“He was here. He was right here.”
She wept, her tears spilling on the carpet and into her hands. She lay where he had lain, her head where his had been. “He was here.”
She lay still, sobbing. Remembering.
Her friends stayed with her.
She sat up on her knees. She looked around the room. She rememberd other things, better times.
“He painted this room for me while I was on a girls’ weekend away. It always bothered him that he ran out of time. He would have done one more coat,” she said.
“I told him I was pregnant in this room, right in that little space there.”
“What did he say?” her friend asked.
“He picked me up. He held me. He said, ‘Let’s do this thing, momma.'”
She let the sun fall on her.
She soaked it in, with the smells of the room, the feel of the carpet, the knowledge that she could never come back.
She cried until she was finished.
And then she stood up.
“Okay. I’m finished,” she said.
She closed the door behind her;
her fingers lingered on the doorknob.
Her friends loaded her car with the items remaining, far more than a box, far less than a life.
She locked the door behind her and handed over the key.
She walked to her car.
She carried a broom, a doorstop, and a picture frame.
And her life mattered.