Tuesday, November 26, 2013

Empty Walls

Last Friday and Saturday, I, my parents and several friends (lovely, wonderful, blessed friends) packed up every last bit of my stuff and put it into a POD.  I finally have a renter for the house (HALLELUJAH), I've found a place in Galveston and its now the time to reunite Gareth and I with all of our belongings.


Part of the process of this move was purging - the things that went with Gareth and I set apart from the things that would remain behind for Cliff's family to pick up.  Cliff and I spoke about the pieces he wanted - bookcases and rugs and books and movies, etc., etc., etc.  So back it went into the "man cave", a growing pile of HIS things and a steady stream of boxes and furniture out to the pod of OUR things and my choice to divorce was as clear to the eye as a burbling mountain stream.

Two roads diverged in a yellow wood....

I could say much about those two days and the emotional turmoil that swept over me.  My throttled sobs staring into empty rooms, my rising anger like a fever ("that's HIS shit"), the freedom of never having to return to that place.  But mostly what I've been turning over and over again in my mind is the realization that every single piece that decorated the walls of that house belonged to Cliff.  He came with all the art and posters and decorative pieces, and into our marriage I merely brought a dozen boxes of books.  I am faced now with the prospect of a new place and it's needs - I need to buy new bookshelves, some rugs, an electric dryer.  But most pressing?  I need art.

And I don't know what I want.  Or perhaps more honestly, I have no idea how to decorate a house. I have a pintrest account, but mostly for VBS crafts.  I've never had the eye or flair for decorations, for how colors and textures go together.  I see the masterful creativity in so many of my friends' houses and I have idea how to mimic them.  Or even to discern what I like so I could go my own way.  


In my high school sophmore english class, I was assigned a piece of art by Andrew Wyeth ("The Green Knight") to analyze and I promptly fell in love.  All of Wyeth's work makes me ache - the sense of silence and space, the delicate nature of existence, the lush curves of a woman's body, the haunting beauty of empty landscape and windswept grain.  If I could have art in my house, I would want his art, his pieces everywhere.


Well, I suppose I CAN have his art in my house.  Whatever art I please.  Because I'm the only adult in the house, with no obligation to hang any pieces on the walls, pieces fraught with meaning and emotional barbs.  This place will never know Cliff's shadowed presence; only my dancing footsteps and Gareth's piping voice, and the clicking of animal nails on hardwood floor.  This place is my very first to have alone, to be the sole guarantor of all the bills, to be the maker of all the choices.  Part of me is exultant to be finally unbound from the gripping skeleton hands of the Hermanson house.  But part of me remembers the story of Genesis 2 where God says about the first human "it is not good for them to be alone."  And I know, I know, I know what that means.  

I have been telling Gareth, "Home is wherever you and mommy are together."  It's been my way to help him adjust to all the moving.  And I've moved so so so many times in the last decade (9 times I think?), so many times that I've neglected to personalize any place that I've lived.  But perhaps, while I am yet alone (as alone as you can be with a 3yr old), it is time to turn my gaze to the blank canvases that my new walls present and dream a new dream.  To discover what I think is beautiful and to make it mine; to find the muses that inspire me and frame them over desks and bedframes; to enjoy dictatorial choice over the shape our space will take.

There are so many empty walls, spaces to be filled in my new apartment.
There are so many empty spaces within my life that cry out to be filled.
Perhaps, in the process of filling one, I will fill the others too.

1 comment:

Liz Tichenor said...

I found your blog through YCW - love it! This post made me think of a print I have up and love, thought it might be a good fit: https://www.syracuseculturalworkers.com/products/framed-small-print-for-love-of-the-world