Journeys: Driving by

The theme for me, for these past few years anyway, has been about home. Finding it, creating it, losing it, redefining it…

Yesterday (was it only yesterday?) I drove Doug past the house I used to share with Jeff.

I had not been past in daylight.

I had not been past in a decade, actually, not that I can remember.

I had only been by in the crazed lunacy of middle of the night grief that made me go there, searching for him, back in the early days when every single thing felt like a bad dream.

I searched for the road, half by rote, half by the dream-scape of deductive reasoning– the high swampy spot where the peeper frogs were so cacophonous that I would pull off, windows open, and drown in their song.

The pink house, oh yes, the one with the turquoise doors… turn there, down Davisville. And there, right there, there it was.


Innocently brown and flat faced.

A protective arm flung down from the roof of the garage over the woodshed.

The garage.

That one.

The garage.

And I slowed down, wondering if I would catch a glimpse of myself in the windows, see myself out the yard, or on the porch I never once sat on even though it was the reason I wanted the house.

I wondered about the kitchen, nonsensical, the kitchen and the wondering.

And then, just like that, the edge of the fenced yard, the neighbor’s driveway, and the road kept going, and I kept going too.

It did not feel current, and barely felt real actually. Not of this lifetime real.

It felt so much less real than my dreams.

And there is little surprise in that. Although a container so filled with grief should have a label, indelible, maybe one that only witches can see. Witches and those stricken by their own grief.

And yes, I can see it. I can. But instead of seeing just grief for the long, slow, tragic and unthinkable loss of a love, I see grief for all the HOPE that home represented. No, not home, house.
I guess I never realized this, never thought it through, but I never actually made myself at home there. By the time we lived there, Jeff was too far down his path toward losing himself, and I was too far down my path too. It contained us, for a time.

But as I drove by, my heart in my throat a little, for the person I was, for the people we were, I realized with relief that it does not contain me any more.

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