I’m leaving the house I have lived in for the past fifteen years.
It’s part of the changing process I’m going through, actually not only me, but the boys as well. We are happy and excited about our new home, a larger apartment with the kitchen and living room of our dreams, and in a nicer neighbourhood, so much closer to most of my friends.
Even so, as start packing and go through papers and find old letters and bills and photos, I can’t help a nostalgic feeling for this house, our home for so long and during such an important part of our lives.
A different world
When we came here, in 2005, it was a different world – the world had changed, definitely, after 9/11, but the worst shock waves hadn’t hit us yet, like Daesh or the 2008 financial crisis. Afonso, at ten, had just left primary school, and his teens were quickly approaching… Pedro, then six, was still that delightful, smiling child who always wanted to hold my hand and hug me and kiss me, and I still prayed with them at night and told them bedtime stories. Their father and I were still together, but our marriage was already at an end, and we separated a little more than a year after. He got our beach house, and I got this one, and it became very much my house and the boys’. The three of us have lived together here ever since, even if they spent half the time with their Dad, joint custody being the only possible option for our family – and one that has worked out extremely well.
There will be so many memories from our time in this house: hurrying in the morning to take them to school, Mimi coming in early to help making lazy Pedro get up and get ready for school and make them both a breakfast of bacon and eggs I would not have the time or patience to cook; the morning sunlight coming in through the living room windows; navigating the narrow passage of the building’s parking trying hard to avoid a paint scratch in my car; the birthdays, squeezing all our friends into a not so spacious living room, but always making it and having great fun; sending for a Domino’s pizza on Sunday evenings; driving like crazy to school so that the boys would not be late for classes; fussing over them when they came home with an injury from a rugby match; and then, as they grew up and began to go out at night, silently opening my bedroom door in the morning to check if theirs were shut, as it would mean they were home… also, being angry because they didn’t want to study and had poor results, celebrating their rugby victories, watching “Game of Thrones” and “How I met your mother” and “Friends” together, and so many other happy mother and sons moments that, thank God, I believe we have lived to the full.
There were moments of anguish and sadness too, as in every life – but I’d rather leave them be, and remember the good ones, the happy times we have lived here, the last years of my sons’ childhood and their teens and early adulthood. They came as children, they go out as men, and I am so proud of the men they have become. In the end, all the love, but all the scolding too, have been worthwhile.
The best memories
Of all the precious memories maybe two are the very best: one of them, that will always be with me every time I think of this house, is the sight of my boys, walking side by side on the street, on their way to the rugby club for their training or to a match, tall and athletic, taking long strides as they talked to each other. I looked at them from the living room window, my heart unfailingly bursing with pride and happiness to see them so well, so healthy, so close to each other. I just stayed there, watching, until they disappeared inside the club, and only then would I turn back and leave the window, but that sight will stay with me forever.
There is another, very special memory of an afternoon of love; a love so unexpected, but so deep and true, that it filled my heart and my life for some years and made me very happy for a time. A love that was a gift from life, a special love whose first day was celebrated here, in this house, a moment I would gladly go back to, only to live those emotions, all that happiness, that feeling of closeness and completeness, all over again.
Call me sentimental, but the other day I talked to this house. I explained to it why we were leaving; that we still love it and always will, but it’s time to move on. That a new family will come and cherish it as much as we have, and there will be laughter again within these walls, and birthdays, and afternoons of love and maybe even Sunday evening pizzas over a movie. Yes, I may be sentimental but I’m so happy I’ve sold the house to people I know, neighbours who want a larger apartment, very nice people and so excited about coming here. They will be happy, as we have been, and the house will be happy too.
As I fill black garbage bags with things I no longer want – and one of the good things of moving to a new home is definitely getting rid of all those things that have piled up over the years, things you don’t need – I utter a silent thanks to this house that has sheltered us during these fifteen years. And I say, quietly “ I thank you; I love you; I know I’ll miss you – but it’s time to move on”.
This house is part of the story of my life, of our lives, but, as in a great book, I’m looking forward to starting a new chapter.