As I write this, I am sitting in a living room in a small pool of light given off by the white clamp-lamp attached to the shelf just above my monitor. I love this dumb little lamp and had to rip open a garbage bag to get to it, where it was wrapped in a tangled set of sheets printed with bears and owls. I bought them- the sheets, not the lamp- maybe a year or two ago, when they were still something Camryn would have liked. A lot can change in a year or two, can’t it? More than I ever imagined, that’s for sure.
My keystrokes are echoing in the room of my new house- the place is a lot bigger than it looked in the pictures and videos I saw online- and it is still mostly empty, aside from the bags and boxes shoved up against the walls. Most of them have been rifled through at this point, so it looks like a band of drunk raccoons tried to pack for me. I have no furniture. When I moved to Maine I got rid of my couch, my bookshelves, even my TV stand. I even got rid of my large TV- gave it to the neighbor across the street, who was thrilled. That’s where my TV stand wound up, too. I really didn’t miss any of my stuff while I was gone, but right now I do sort of wish I had a couch. It’s weird in here with no place to sit.
I mean…it’s weird in general, though. I am, once again, in that strange liminal space between arriving somewhere and actually being there. I know that sounds odd, and it’s an odd feeling, but I’ll try to explain. There is an uncomfortable time that stretches out and feels endless when you move into a new place, and though you may be surrounded by your stuff (or not, as was the case for me in Maine), it does not feel like home. It happens when you move from one house to another in the same town, too, but not as intensely. When I moved to Maine, I didn’t expect it, so it walloped me pretty hard. This time, I know what this feeling is so it’s less unsettling, although no less uncomfortable. I keep feeling as if the presence of a couch would really help even though I know that is just my desire to fix it, to feel better, more than anything.
So, where did I end up? Well, in Chico, California, of all places. And no, in case you are wondering, I had never been here before in my life before deciding to move here. I was trying to be closer to my older daughter who lives near Redding, and so I sort of worked outward from there. As it turns out, Chico is about two hours away from her- seems like nothing when you are living over three thousand miles away, but in reality it’s a good drive. I know because I drove it on Saturday when I went and picked her up. Four hours round trip, two days after ending a nine day road trip. I could honestly leave my car parked at the curb for the next six months and be fine with it. Except…I’ll probably need it to go buy my future furniture.
As luck would have it, Chico is beautiful. Not, you know, Maine beautiful of course. Maine was peaceful, serene, quiet, full of wildlife and rugged beaches, stately, empty, summer homes lining the streets. Chico is…vibrant. If you aren’t familiar with California, Chico is way up North and home to a California University that is infamously party-centric. There is a flourishing downtown area with tons of restaurants and shops, ringed with wide, tree-lined streets and darling bungalow houses from the thirties and forties. I happen to be sitting in one of those houses right this very moment. It has wood floors and built in cabinets, a huge backyard and the coolest little thing in the front door that opens so you can look out to see who is knocking. Like a peep-hole but big, you know? With it’s own little ornate, iron screen. The neighborhood is incredibly picturesque and walkable this time of year, with hundreds of citrus trees and front yard gardens in full bloom, the trees a leafy green canopy overhead.
It is also…fricking loud. The street I landed on is BUSY, and traffic flies by, day and night. Two doors down from me, there seems to be a frat house of some sort. Yesterday, I kept hearing cars honking. When I finally left to go grab food, I saw that the kids down there had set up a card table with red solo cups and hung a sign that said “honk and we’ll drink”. By the time I went to bed last night, I was honestly concerned for their health. I wondered if I should walk over there with a jug of water and insist that they go lay down. I wondered if I should call their mothers…or offer to BE their mothers. I fell asleep realizing how old I have gotten, but not before turning up the TV so I could hear it over the traffic going by. I don’t understand why very young people prefer very loud cars.
So, I am here, but I have not found my rhythm yet. I know it will take as long as it takes- hell, I had just started to hit my stride in Maine before I left and it took months. I know there is nothing to do but wait it out. And more than that, even, I find myself in the strange position of being on the other side of a gigantic realized dream- for so long, all I wanted to do was move to the East Coast and I did it! Was it exactly like I wanted it to be? No, but when is anything ever exactly as we picture it? The point is, I did it, and now it is behind me and…I don’t know what my next dream is. I don’t know what to aim for. I suppose that will come to me soon enough, though.
For now…liminal space it is. Which is a space that cannot be filled with a couch and bookshelves. Although I still think it would help.