Monday, December 22, 2014

shaking hands

I remember when we were first looking at houses, how the empty rooms seemed so expansive. There was so much potential. I couldn't even imagine our stuff in the space. How would we fill it? We had just two kids then, and they loved to run circles in these spaces, turn summersaults if there was carpet, and their shrieks and laughter bounced off the walls. Everything was big, empty, and possible. Now the house we're settled in feels cluttered; the stuff is always closing in on me, pulling toward the center of the room so it's hard to walk through. A million books on the ottoman at the center of the living room, papers in the middle of the kitchen table, toys clogging the playroom, clothing at the heart of every bedroom. Sometimes I'd like to just get rid of it all, start over with those empty spaces, think more carefully about how to fill them. But -- that's not possible. We're up to our necks in it at this point.

A sweatshirt crumpled at my feet. A tissue balled up on the floor. Dust, dust, everywhere, except on the path through the room. It's messy in my bedroom, but neater than I've had it for a long time. What is so pleasing to me about a neat space? Order, everything snapped into place: a lego house. Out of order is the potential for falling apart, for rotting boards, for rain seeping in. I want everything to look untouched. (Do I?) And that's what kids do best. Touch everything. But that doesn't explain the sweatshirt, the tissue, the dust. Those are mine. And I don't feel like picking them up. Not right now.

Lego houses are plastic anyway. Lego people can't bend their knees. And I'd hate to have one expression painted on my face all the time. So: welcome, rot. Let's shake hands. I'm trying to be okay with you.