I am soaking up our last month on 39th Street. A surprising sadness is creeping in now that we have closed escrow. The painting and boxing has started, helping me to look forward to moving into our new house. But I am also wallow in the bittersweet emotions of leaving an apartment we love very much.
We didn’t really choose our little place. Like many decisions over the last five years, our apartment was the only option. It was a hot July day, just weeks before school was supposed to start. We’d spent a few days in Sacramento looking for a place to live but nothing was really panning out. As we were leaving town, we passed by a beautiful old home on 39th Street. A “For Rent” sign caught my attention. A few days later, once we were back in Orange County, I sent Sharon to look at the inside.
“It’s really cute,” she said. “The kitchen is kind of strange, but I think you’ll like it.” And, we have. In early August 2006 we signed a lease before ever seeing the inside. I no longer notice the lovely 80’s floral wallpaper in our kitchen.
I have filled our apartment with loving hand-me-downs from various family members, along with a few Craig’s List purchases. I won’t lie- I’m happy to soon get rid of some items that are worn and dated. But what I’m not ready to let go of are the memories. Furniture may physically fill our apartment, but it’s our friends and family who have truly filled our home. They have stopped by hundreds of times for pizza dinners or a glass of wine; nights watching Grey’s Anatomy or opening a bible together.
I few days ago I left the house early for work. Leaves cover the lawn at this time of year, the dew gluing them to our grass. A fog had settled around the huge brick church on the corner. The street was eerily quiet. Usually cars and hospital buses rush by. Instead bells welcomed the day. When I returned home tonight the bells were again ringing, the street again quiet.
These bells are a familiar part of our routine. They ring longer at the end of the day, sometimes chiming familiar hymns that I hum along to while sitting on the porch. I hear them from the bathroom when I’m late for work, and I’m reminded to move faster.
We are entering a new phase of life; where memories will be made, neighbors will pass by with their dogs, and new sounds and light will bounce off the walls in a rhythm of eventual familiarity. But, until that house starts to feel like home I will allow a tiny bit of sadness to sit in my heart because with it comes a gratefulness for all that we’ve been given in our past and our future.