The sun has gone down, the sky is dark, and the street lights flicker amid the warm, mid-summer air. Birds continue to chirp to each other, kids shouting in their backyards, and a fan blowing cool air into my bedroom; well, what will formerly be my bedroom in less than 48 hours.
About a year ago, I moved up north, an hour and a half away from family and friends alone. I told myself that if I didn't meet anyone or had no special connection here that I would stay a year, maybe two, and move south like I always wanted. But after a few failed dates with guys who just didn't cut it, I found someone worth all of that. He's everything I could want and honestly everything I've ever dreamed of: smart, driven and ambitious, funny, comfortable with himself, and a true partner. He supports me in anything I want to do, cracks a joke to make me smile when I'm sad or upset, and does all that he can to support me. Now we are moving in together, and as I look back, it has been a whirlwind.
But then again, every year for the past five years has been a whirlwind of some sort or other. 2017 was a particularly bright one, in a neon color that's burned into my hippocampus. My family and I moved nearly 80 years of family heirlooms, memories, and furniture out of our family home that, again, had been in our family for nearly 80 years; September 1938 was when my Great-Grandfather bought the house and then added on as time passed, creating more rooms filled with many decades of memories and four generations to make them. From holidays to birthdays to weddings, prom nights, graduations, and reunions, my family was always together. We still are, every time that we can.
After moving out of that house, the living situation we found ourselves in was less than tolerable and that was when I made the decision to leave my hometown; hell or high water I was out of there no matter what it took. I saved, scraped, and saved some more; I did whatever it took to keep cash in my savings account and to ensure a speedy exit, stage right. Shortly before I moved out, so did the rest of my family and they found themselves in a small cabin by a small lake in a very small town (Vermont in a nutshell).
I took a walk through my house not too long ago, looking at the paintings one of my roommates has done, stepping out onto the back deck, taking in the view of the backyard and smells of freshly cut grass and someone barbequing a couple houses down. The moon was coming out, a nearly perfectly spherical orb that is now hanging in the sky, glistening like a jewel against a black velvet backdrop. I went back inside and sat in the kitchen for a minute, remembering the good memories from potlucks we always had as a house; cooking, laughing, eating, and drinking. I tried mussels here for the first time. One of my roommates cooked them and she showed me how she likes to eat them, right out of the shell scooping up some of the broth they simmered in.
We decorated a Christmas tree together, all of us contributing ornaments and lights, pulling names out of a hat for Secret Santa and having a nice, low-key Christmas party before we all left to see our families and friends for the holiday. Then New Year's with everyone and their friends playing beer pong in the kitchen, music blasting as we rang in 2018 with champagne and liquor; I remember how the kitchen reeked of beer after everyone else went out to the bars (I was waiting for my boyfriend to pick me up so we could go back to his place and watch the ball drop with his roommate and her friends).
As I made my way back up here, to my soon-to-be-former bedroom, I realize how many things I will miss, like my bathtub here that's deep enough to swim in, the hardwood flooring in my bedroom that's easier to clean than carpet, the windows and little alcoves that makes a nice reading cubby or workspace to cut off distractions. But what I have to look forward to with this new apartment outweighs all of the loss that comes with moving out of this house. I suppose that is the situation with most cases like mine.
Leaving my family home behind taught me a lot about moving on and about who I am. It was hard driving by that house afterward and seeing someone new painting it a different color, taking away pieces here and there, tearing it almost completely apart and changing the look of what was my home for over two decades. The places may be gone or far away but the memories remain; the memories always stay with us and as I move on and into this new apartment, I'll remember the good times here in this house, and look forward to the new memories to make in the new place.