I pause, pushing my bare toes across the sturdy fibers of the Moroccan carpet that spreads out beneath my feet, beneath the coffee table my grandfather owned, beneath the piano bench my mother upholstered that is hosting the small white TV my aunt gave to my sister years ago, before I knew her well at all. I shake my head a tiny, at that long sentence I just wrote.
Dad rumbles by the bay windows, his pale yellow shirt matching our landlord’s riding mower. The first time he’s ever mowed this lawn, used this mower. That view out the window is still so unfamiliar.
Today I feel a bit like the dried leaf that has gotten itself caught on a spider web attached to the window. It floats there, crackling quietly in the breeze, looking in on me. I feel trapped. Not by this new place that is also familiar. But by an invisible web of obstructions keeping me from being happy: The almost unpacked bedroom that is still a disaster even though I’ve had plenty of time to deal with it. The characters who are waiting for a story in my head, because the story will not come. The group, here on protagonize that I am supposed to be running, but feel more like watching. The stories I’m supposed to be adding chapters too, but do not have the inspiration to continue.
I blame time. Too much of the wrong kind is sitting on my shoulders.
I blame myself. I know that I can motivate myself to do things. That is the only way I will make a mark on this world. But I don’t want to right now.
I’m not unhappy though.
Sebastian, my cat, is cleaning his tail on the couch across from me. I stole his seat earlier today, and when I left for a minute he was back, sitting there—without his sheet to protect the couch; staring at me with his big ornery eyes. He will always make me happy, even if he never purrs for me or lets me hold him. He is a cat, and one that I know and love. I can give no other real explanation for why he means so much to me.
My mom and sister just came in. Earlier this afternoon I heard Mom say, (and I quote,) “Do you think there will be leaves in that forest?” It would have made me laugh in the right mood, but I just grinned. Apparently she needs brown leaves for compost purposes.
I hear them putting their shoes away in the closet by the front door. They came in the door into the kitchen. This house has so many doors. I think we counted seven in all that are, or used to be, outside doors. Before we had only three and before that just two, if you don’t count doors to balconies.
Balconies. There we come back to Morocco and the big concrete, flat-roofed home of my childhood. I think that moving stirs up the dust of memory like the wind stirrers the leaf stuck outside the window so that it remembers when it was a part of a tree.
I wonder if things become more a part of us the more we remember them. Or are they there are just there, always, bumping gently against our bones?
The skin on the top of my big toe stretches as I push my freshly cut toe nails against the carpet. And my pause ends. Time to clean that new basement room!