There's something daunting about entering the place where your life last thrived. I know for a while now that I had to make a trip to Clarksville, TN, where David and I were stationed, but I chose not to dwell on the idea. To be honest, we'd be happy in a cardboard box so long as both of us fit in it, but Clarksville was never our favorite place to be. Yet, it was our home, we built a life and had a routine... we were happy here. At one point, I vowed never to come back. But as fate has it, our tenants moved out and our house needed some fixing. So! Off to Clarksville...
I was doing good! ...Until I drove past Exit 4 on the highway... the beginning of Clarksville. The beginning of all the memories to come. My heart started raising and I had to catch my breath. Did I really want to do this?! ...Too late now, I guess. As the military base entered my view on the right a particular panic began in me and I knew if I didn't call someone I might just lose what strength I have left. I called my WSM. I needed another voice... someone to tell me I was crazy or I could do this. While on the phone I drove around aimlessly for a bit, collecting my mind and taking in all that was familiar. ...The walmart we always went to, his favorite taco stand, the post office, the park... I asked WSM to stay on the phone with me while I made my next stop... 110 Carriage Place... our home.
I sucked in a deep breath as I turned the corner past the street sign... our home in full view. "Memories are too painful for me," a woman once told me... I thought about this as I drove up to the house. I held the house key in my hand for a while... determined to go in... determined to make it through the next few minutes. I stood at the red door with the phone to my ear and the key in the door.
I couldn't do it. I couldn't open it.
I let the key go for a bit, then went to turn it... then let it go... I did this a few times. What if the place wasn't what I remembered? The tears began. The panic found me. I could do this...
I couldn't understand what WSM was saying but I did hear her say something about "good memories..." Yes. Good memories... I have good memories here. With that I opened the door. It was bright inside, open and airy just like I remember. The sunlight came flooding in from the all the windows in the same way it did the first time David and I saw the house. It's was made us fall in love with the place... it reminded us of California. It was perfect.
I walked straight to the spot I've daydreamed about most the past 18 months... an area on the floor not far from the door. I've longed to return to this simple spot on the carpet... the spot where we laid next to each other before I dropped him off the night he left to Iraq. The house was empty, all our furniture was in storage. We had no where to sit so we just sat by the door. It was in this spot where we spent our last moments in our home, in this spot I tried so hard to keep my brave face... in this spot where I cried... in this spot he kissed my tears. It was in this spot that he last held me... he held me the way I will never forget and always crave. One hand under the small of my back, the other under my head. Without thinking, I collapsed my body on the very spot and closed my eyes. I realized how much I love this place and just how good our memories are.
For the past three days I've been at 110 Carriage Place... a tiny house on a cul-de-sac, jam packed with good memories. Happy memories. Every wall, every room, ever cabinet- a memory. There is so much I didn't remember!! But I'm so glad I gave myself the chance to do just that... remember our best moments at 110 Carriage Place, because the woman was wrong.... because for me forgetting is way more painful than the quick sting of a memory.