Tomorrow your listing will go live. Someone will hit a button and broadcast on my behalf that it’s time for me to move on. People will scroll pictures of you. They’ll come wander through your rooms. They’ll evaluate you, trying to decide if you could feel like home to them. It’s an odd thing to think about, strangers in my home. But it’s time. You and I both know it’s the right thing.
I remember the first night you were mine. Friends helped us move in boxes and furniture. We fed them pizza and gave them jobs to do. And then they left, and for a little while I was here alone with you. I wandered from room to room and sobbed, wondering what on earth I’d gotten myself into. You felt big and empty and hard to fathom. I wondered how I could possibly be responsible for an entire building and the land it sits on.
That was the first time you chuckled at me. I heard you, bemused. “Oh, dear,” you seemed to say, “everything is going to be just fine.” And for some reason, I believed you. That was the first time you comforted me, but far from the last.
For a little while, you were ours. And later, you became mine. You were the first thing I ever owned completely and fully by myself. There was paperwork to prove it. You were mine, and owning you by myself made me more proud than anything else I’d done to that point. You were little more than empty rooms, but you were my empty rooms, and I knew I would grow into your spaces over time.
Each room I filled in turn filled a little empty piece of my heart. I found pieces of myself in the vibrant colors I painted on the walls. In the turquoise of my bedroom, I found a place to rest. In the green of my yoga room, I found growth and new life. And my favorite, my purple kitchen, represented the abundant life I’ve been able to create for myself. I filled your walls with art I love and invited friends over to fill the rest with love and good energy. We laughed a lot at those gatherings. Your walls have a way of echoing with laughter for days after friends have left.
You have made me very, very happy. You gave me a place to wait out the darkest days of my life, and a place to celebrate my arrival in some of the brightest. You taught me how to feel strong again, and gave me a place to rest when I was weak.
And now, it’s time to move on.
It’s time for me to find a space that’s just mine from the beginning. I need less to take care of and fewer rooms to clean. Life is pulling me in the direction of increasingly more travel, and I can’t give you the care and attention you need. You deserve more than I can give you right now.
But some person or family will be able to give you that. I hope they love you as much as I do.
I will miss you tremendously. I’ll miss how quiet you are during the day and how brightly the sunlight shines in your windows. I’ll miss the wildness of your backyard that was always the best place to lay and watch the moon. I’ll miss the echo of my footsteps on your well-worn wooden floors. I wonder how many times I’ll drive in your direction when I’m headed home at the end of the night, before I realize that I’m creating a home in a new place now?
Just like you comforted me that first night, I want to comfort you now. You will be fine. You are big and sturdy and accepting. You have seen many things and will continue to quietly witness the lives that come and go within you and around you. You don’t need me to tell you that you’ll be okay. You already know that.
Perhaps it’s I who need that reassurance from you once again.
At some point, after offers have been made and accepted, and dates have been set, and plans have been made, I’ll slip downstairs to the basement. I’ll pull out the paintbrush and small container of paint I have set aside. I’ll dip the brush and, with tears in my eyes, write my initials somewhere on the unfinished brick of your walls. Small and unobtrusive, in a corner somewhere, I’ll leave my mark on you. “Melissa was here.” I’ll officially become a permanent part of your history.
And as I move on to whatever chapter is next, you’ll forever and lovingly be a part of mine.