My brother and I have the task of cleaning out my parent’s house on the Cape and selling it.
We have had 23 Christmas’, my brother’s and my own wedding; we weathered Hurricane Bob and so many other memories there.
They bought this house when I was 17 and we were still living in Rhode Island. My best friend and I were with my parents when they found this house and decided to buy it. She and I thought the old house that was filled with antiques and long, dark hallways were creepy. We knew it just had to be haunted and we weren’t altogether wrong about that assumption. When I graduated from High School my folks sold our house in R.I. and moved full time to the house on the Cape. I was devastated as I felt I didn’t have a home anymore. I didn’t have any friends there so coming home from college was lonely for me, especially in the winter when the Cape is desolate and seems so isolated from the rest of the world.
But something happened over the years and this house began to feel like home to me. Rhode Island faded away and in its place what once felt like a creepy old person’s house felt like going home. I wander through the house and everything I see represents my parents. Mom and Dad don’t even need to be there I can feel them when I am in their house.
It’s hard for me to believe that my parents will never step foot in this house again. They both got very ill when they went to Florida in December and aren’t able to return. Within the next few months we will be selling, throwing away and packing up 23 years worth of memories. Another family will walk through the house and call it their own. The only time I go to the Cape is to visit my parents so I will barely see the Cape again. Pay for a place to stay down there? That is just too strange to me.
When people ask my brother where he is from he has always said the Cape. I say that I am from Rhode Island but the Cape now feels more like home to me than R.I. does.
As I was thinking about this life’s transition and feeling melancholy about it I received a daily message that I signed up for on the Internet. The message read “that today is a big day for you. Yes, today. Keep your eyes open for a message. It might come in a shape of a bird flying overhead, or a graffiti on a wall, or a phrase said by a passerby, or… Whatever shape it has, this message has been trying to reach you for years.”
Since it was 7:00 o’clock at night by the time I received this message I thought the chances of me running into a message was slim since I wasn’t leaving the house again that night. The thought stayed in the back of my mind, however, as the night wore on.
As I was making a lunch for the next day Dan had the television on. I wasn’t paying attention to what he was watching but something caught my attention. The guy on TV was talking about cleaning out his Mom’s house and how he felt bad about all the memories that he felt he was leaving behind. He finally realized that a house is just that, a shell and that what makes it a home is what is inside of YOU, not the house. I turned from what I was doing and listened in amazement. I realized he was right, no matter where my parents are living it is what is in my heart that matters and that those feeling will never be sold, given away or packed up.
I paid attention and I got my message.