The Hurry Up and Wait
When I was a kid I used to sit upside down on the couch; with my head down where my feet should be and my feet resting up along the wall. After awhile, the ceiling transforms into being the floor, except you’d have to step over some archways maybe where the rooms are. It’s all clean and furniture free and it would make me wonder about different ways the floor could look if the furniture was arranged differently or was missing completely. When I was a kid I used to do it quite often when no one was around. It made life simple. Even as a kid, life wasn’t very simple.
As an adult, in the very same house, I must admit I don’t sit upside down on the couch at all anymore. This would be normal for an adult, I suppose. But as the house emptied and my memories pulled away with that emptying; I found myself upside down on the couch again. Before, the house remained unchanged for so long that it was easy to forget you were now a good 30 years older - but as we cleared it, the full weight of those 30 years crashed down around me. It wasn’t the house I knew anymore. It lacked the spirit that made it "home" for so very long. Long after I was using it as my house, in fact - it still always felt like home.
As a 47 year old man, it made me happy for awhile, to be upside down again and to look at the ceiling as I’d done as a boy. It made me feel for a few moments that life hadn’t drastically shifted away from the grounded center that my mom's home had provided - to a chaotic mess of emptiness which is what it was now. Where I sat upside down, I’d sat right side up for over three decades to the guidance and happy stories of my mother. And while upside down I could pretend that there still existed a hope that all of that wasn’t completely gone.
But it was. Probably, that is how it would’ve turned out no matter how that house was cleared. There is no way to hang onto the past, this I did know. But still, I didn’t feel the need to rush the end of this era. My mom had imparted to me a good sense and ability to look ahead and forecast the future. Maybe it was losing my control; maybe I was the only one who knew that this "clearing" needed to slow down.
I thought it was bigger than just what I needed and the need to not rush the end of my mother's home was something that was needed for all of us. I felt like I screamed when there was still time... screamed that I was surely going to break; that I worried we all were going to break. I felt like we needed to not worry about the edge, the ending - no need to rush this hurry up and wait we seemed to now be lost in. My heart did what I feared it would do; it started to separate. And that is the state my heart was left at - in regards to my old childhood home and in regards to those connected to it.
With the blood all pooled to my head, I got up from the couch – I got up from my sitting upside down position - and we carried that couch out of the house and into the truck. Now the floor looks like the ceiling, it's true, the house is empty and returned to a simpler state - but it's never been more complicated.