As I pulled into my spot this evening, holiday lights shone from the houses of Delta Bay. I sat in my car for a few moments, the strains of NPR fading as the engine calmed.
In a few days, I’ll celebrate my actual year anniversary here. The date seems anticlimactic. I gauge my tenancy from the date that the house arrived in November. Yet I spent the first night in Angel’s Haven with December waning.
My son arrives next Tuesday, a few days ahead of his own one-year mark — his first visit to his mother’s new home. When he saw the sleeping loft at the north end of Angel’s Haven, he said, “Ah, my bedroom.” A pang seared my heart. A long-ago overheard conversation rose in my breast.
“Patrick, where’s all your stuff?” asked Jacob, standing puzzled in the back bedroom doorway.
“No,” my son replied. “I’m here, in the room I had when I was two.” Jacob turned, puzzled.
“Every time my Mom gets married, I have to move my room.”
They didn’t see me standing on the stairs, my hand to my mouth, willing myself to remain silent.
This final time, I sold the house in which all those rooms stood. I left his childhood on a Brookside street and drove as far away as I could get from all those memories, the good and the bad. I condensed my living space and by the stroke of my intention, snipped away everything he knew.
I’ve hung lights and decorated the miniature tree which he brought for me last year. I’ve dangled the old ornaments from the stairwell. His Baby’s First Christmas cup and the little elves with which he played as a child sit on the bookshelf beneath the home-made paper ornaments with Chris and Caitlin Taggart’s school pictures glued to them. I’ve done what I can. So, this is Christmas, now, here. The rest lies in the wide and merciful expanse of my son’s forgiving heart.
It’s the tenth day of the sixtieth month of My Year Without Complaining. Life continues.
JOHN LENNON’S “HAPPY CHRISTMAS, WAR IS OVER”