by Zinta Aistars
My black calico Jiggy circles and circles and makes a comma of herself on the deck boards, raising one black leg straight up toward the sky in salute. She settles in for her morning sun bath.
I may or may not be moving in about two weeks. It all depends on the seller's reply to the addendum my real estate agent and I submitted late on Friday, requesting various repairs or replacements. By end of tomorrow, I will have one more decision to make: proceed or walk away.
I've never thought twice about moving. Moving has been in my blood. Most of my boxes never got unpacked. More than 30 addresses ... but this one didn't change all these many years.
This one held me. For better or for worse, and there was plenty of both. Some of my most painful memories happened in this house. Some of my most glorious moments, too, of healing, of rejoicing, of love renewed, of family come together, of the shared laughter of friends, of quiet hours, and hours lost in pursuing my art, painting and writing.
Trucks arrived with new furniture. The walls were smooth and bright with rich, fresh color. New lighting was wired into the walls, and light shone golden as honey on new rooms. At last, at long last, I had given the old house something of myself. My touch, my hand, my spirit, my reflection.
And now I am preparing to move.
My old pup glances back at me over his shoulder, then gets up to come yet closer. He leans against my leg, panting softly. I curl my fingers into his long, soft fur. We've gone through a lot together, old pal, haven't we? He nuzzles my hand and licks my fingers.
The new privacy fence has closed off his view from neighbor pups, but he knows every patch of grass in this backyard and surely loves each green tuft like his own. Because it is. This is his house, too, and he has spent his best years here. What will he think of the new wooded acreage I'm considering? I know, he would follow me anywhere, but will he think back on this place with longing in his dog-heart?
He follows me into the kitchen instead. I bring the duck, roasted last night, out from the refrigerator onto the counter and pare away at the meat on the bones. Duck soup tonight. I look through the lush collection of garden-fresh greens, my newest CSA bounty from Harvest of Joy Farm. I carve the bird, and the occasional juicy piece flips from the pan and in a neat arc to the dog's happy mouth.
My son calls. Dog and I settle into the corner of the sofa for a chat. I catch him up on the newest. Maybe I'm moving, maybe not, I tell him. All depends on the reply to the addendum. Is he kewl with that? He's coming back to town within just a few more days, and when I move out, he would move in. I would become landlord.
If the move proceeds, I have a new house to befriend. An acre of beautiful woods, a fire pit already built in, a fireplace for those winter evenings ahead, a soaring cedar-planked ceiling, a sweet house on a hill that is invisible from the road ... and a new city nearby to discover. I've only been there, oh goodness, three times, and I tell my son on the phone that we shall have breakfast there so that he can see both town and house. I can't wait to show him ...
The duck soup simmers, my old pup pants in anticipation, and I pour off a little duck broth in a bowl to cool for him. He looks happy. And I realize, so am I. However this story turns out, where this fork in the road will lead me, I will keep my roots. I have roots that reach into this old pup's heart, into this old house reborn, in the young man who turns the lights on, and reaching far into a future that is rich with promise. It could be, as bittersweet as is this nostalgia, the best is yet to come.
In fact, I'm sure of it.