I am quiet as I stand looking out the window onto the field, the cafeteria tables are filthy and I hate this place, but I watch in a deep contemplative state as the seagulls fly. A half hour later I step into the warm drizzly grey autumn afternoon, I feel so blessed today. So very blessed. Even this too is a new thing, a gift.
Here is what I have been holding on to all summer, a thing that has made it so I cannot write. How can I write what is in me, when what is in me is for me, not to be revealed. Mostly because I am secretly superstitious.
I decided last April that I was sick of being house poor. We bought this house, my ex husband and I and promptly after moving in he lost his job. I never really did want to buy a house, I would have been content to rent from my brother for years. And if I had wanted to buy a house it would have been in the country, not the city. But we bought it, and it was a good house, but trying to support three people on one income was just so difficult. I was going broke, and I literally was in knots worrying that something big would break, because it would break me.
I refinanced when he moved out. Really the house was mine, he barely worked the whole time we owned it, making a pittance that barely covered anything, much less his daily Starbucks habit and his expensive taste in luncheons, and running shoes, and rock climbing equipment, and eating out and going to the movies when I was waitressing on top of teaching. And he certainly did no work at all, not traditional men’s work, not traditional women’s work, not working as a provider.
When I made the decision to sell, I literally had no idea where I would go to live. I just knew the time was right, that I had to get out.
And this summer the work began on the very last day of school. The house looked gorgeous by the time I was done. Paid laborers, plumbers, roofers, drywall contractors (grr), and me. I lugged ladders, I climbed on roofs, the pirate and I trimmed trees, I painted, I cleaned, I threw things away, I rearranged furniture, I replaced windows. And a month later the house was on the market, two weeks after that the house was sold. Today was the closing.
The offer came on the day my ex husband came to this country, the same day I got the final divorce papers. I thought oddly enough that the closing would be on the anniversary of him leaving, or our anniversary, a kind of message from the universe, but instead it was today, my birthday, a gift to me. And what a gift. My God what a gift, the speed at which it sold. My hard work rewarded.
And now I am living with the pirate. More or less rent free.
I am thinking all of this as I drive from one school to the next. I am thinking this all day, as I check my phone for the final word from my lawyer.
When it comes later I am standing in the woods of the pirates country property, listening to the chickadees, looking at the red leaves against the twisted stems of the buckthorn bushes, the grey sky threatening to rain, our hard work clearing brush with our machetes earlier this summer is evident. I am quiet. Wondering is that a beech tree or aspen, it’s a stand of aspen I think, and then the buzz of my phone. I feel as though I have been washed clean by a wave. The quiet washes over me, the easing of the weight of it, the wobbly with relief, of peace from this long burden of my soul.
I am free.
I am finally free.
I am so very thankful.