I’m up here with Jade, a lovely, little black cat who doesn’t seem to age or get bigger in the year between my cat-sitting gigs with her. I’m glad that she was in my calendar for a visit today. I needed an escape. My current home place is just too sad right now. I feel like crying every time I look at the empty shelves, the boxes stacked in the corners, the drawers upended and cupboards open with the contents waiting their fate of whether they’ll make the cut and move with me or end up in the garbage bag bound for the charity pickup. After so many years of being in this one place and being very content and happy here, it seems odd to now feel this estrangement from the same walls and floors and sunshine coming in the window. It’s a little like the pain I felt during the divorce. I always said that the “light looked different” then and that’s exactly how I feel now.
Does everyone go through this kind of depression when they are moving themselves — and the cats — to a different environment? Maybe I’m taking this so personally because I just haven’t had a lot of experience moving. Would it have made a difference if I was like most North Americans who moved around every two or five or, even, ten years? I grew up in a family of non-mobility. My mother loved the white lilac bush in the backyard of the house she and my dad found on Cleveland Avenue in the 1930s and there we stayed to this day. That’s the kind of roots I come from. Most of my siblings have done the same. Is it the comfort of being “home” or is it the uncertainty, stress and, let’s face it, cost of moving from one place to another? We are a family — at least my generation — who only move when it’s absolutely, positively, I’m-leaving-town necessary.
But, the truth is that all the times I moved in the past it had been my decision to do so. It might, still, have been hard — believe me moving from DC to Toronto all those years ago was not a piece of cake. But, it followed a decision that I had made not someone else. So those early gosh-this-is-hard days were tough but I always knew that my initial decision was right and that it would all work out — and it did in it’s fashion. As the years went by, and the marriage ended, I stayed on in that wonderful space and it became as much a home as Cleveland Avenue and Benidoleig and Kilbourne Place in DC.
I need to remember that when I left those “homes” in the past, that I found home again somewhere else. Does it really matter if you make the decision to move or someone else makes that decision for you? Sure, no one in their right mind would move right now in Toronto with the lowest rate of rental properties and the highest rents. But, perhaps, the universe knew that I needed to move on. I needed to make a change now. I needed to start the next phase of my life in a different place, looking out of different windows to a different view. And, I’m sure that same universe knew that I’d never make that decision on my own, maybe not until I couldn’t walk up those 23 stairs to the apartment anymore. Who knows. The reality is that I’m moving — soon — without a lot of the stuff that I thought I needed to make “home” again. But it’s only stuff, eh? The only thing I need to do is to make sure that this move is good for me and the two, furry, fat black-and-whites. And that’s the truth.