Can I really go home?

Opening the door and walking through it, having to look around the house I occupied for almost 17 years before packing up two suitcases and running away.  That’s the hardest thing I’m going to need to do.  And if my niece has her birthday wish, that’s exactly what I’m going to have to do.  Seeing a place that has only been pictures for the last 6 months as people have gone in to paint or replace something before I get the strength to admit it’s time to sell it.

The birthday might be a week away, but Susie says it’s time to deal with the ghosts.  Big words and thoughts from a soon to be 15 year old!  Those ghosts she refers to are more like demons like occupy that space like a deranged squatter and have made it their job to ensure I don’t step over the threshold ever again.

The therapist has said I left so that I continued my hero complex about wanting to protect the people who live there.  To not know how badly things have gone and to not have to face some of their own ghosts about how things have played out.  It was bad enough when someone thoughtlessly posted something on Facebook earlier this week.  I don’t even use the site anymore.  Haven’t for almost a year!  But now my health and eventual death was out there for people to read.  {still can’t really blame an old man for doing something stupid.  Social media isn’t the world of 80 year olds!}

I don’t want my ex to know anything about this.  I’m sure she has been working hard to get past her own demons, or at least I’m hoping she has been able to.  Having someone see me will only start that rumor mill.  I left everyone we knew because I wanted her to have the best possible support from anyone she was willing to turn to.  I didn’t even care if in the end people bad mouthed me.  That doesn’t make me a good person, just one who made a stupid decision that left me raw and hurt.  I gave up on them, or maybe myself, can someone ever be completely out-of-sight, out-of-mind?  I’ve tried to test that theory.  If no one knows where I am, how I’m doing; I guess in some ways you are dead already?

My neighbors know some of the details.  I’ve needed them to look in on things from time to time.  The kid down the street mows the lawn and his father said he’s take care of any snow.  (of course he has for several years now with his giant mid-life crisis of a tractor!)  I want to see the little girl who lives next door, she’s wonderful.  I’d like to see my dog as more than pictures my parents send.

You can’t go home is more than just a phrase in my life.  I’m as frightened of my house as anything a doctor can say to me.  It’s no longer my home, it’s just a structure with some bills attached to it.  Every corner is a memory that I run from, I can see them as clearly as a news program in my mind, or maybe it’s my heart?  This gift of excellent recall is a nightmare of its own at times.  Walking from room to room, recalling when we picked out furniture or colors, this is the one point I envy my ex for having just left.  I got to pick up the pieces though.

Susie thinks she can handle it, but I don’t know if I can.  I’ve spent a lifetime building a reputation as being a significant hard-ass about things.  I’ll breakdown later when no one is watching.  But I don”t think anyone will believe me when we walk past a box of my daughter’s things just sitting in a room.  No one is that strong.

I was there three days after Susie was born.  Back then I was still a grad student in Washington D.C. and couldn’t just leave for Boston.  Her wrinkled up little face was spectacular.  An antidote for her family, a kid not even really related to me by blood who bears my name as her middle name (Laura since I’m Lawrence).  I missed a few years in between but she doesn’t care.  We’re going to make this trip, even if it kills me!  [seriously, that’s a horrible line to use given my medical stuff.]

Well lots to plan for.  Getting me across state lines requires some thought and a little planning.

Oh and don’t ever touch my neck!  I completely freak-out when someone touches my neck.  Primitive reaction kind of stuff where I flail and get really jumpy.  Possibly even knock you over from the gentlest touch.  Weird, isn’t it?

In response to The Daily Post’s writing prompt: “Fright Night.”

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