The expedition North had indeed cleared my head. Being in Buffalo had provided me with the motivation to move on and move out but, unfortunately, it hadn't provided the funds to do so. I knew from the Cincinnati debacle that I couldn't afford to live on my own, but I couldn't bear to live in that house much longer. Any semblance of a home life there was rapidly deteriorating. I knew about the Birthday kiss and I knew things were changing.
Back when we moved into the new house, it had been a breath of fresh air. Our pale yellow Colonial was nestled in the center of a cul-de-sac with a heavily wooded back yard and manmade pond for a view. My parents had spent the spring assembling a brick wall like the one my Grandma had in Rhode Island. It ran the front of the house and bordered a bed overflowing with Piñata Roses, black eyed susan's, pansies, and daisies. The daisies She planted for me, right at the corner of the bed, closest to where I parked my car, so I would see them every day when I came and went. The wall led you around to a set of brick steps and black front door.
Moving meant I was further from my friends, but I didn’t mind so much because this house gave me a bit more privacy. My bedroom faced east and was the largest of three bedrooms on the top floor. With my parents’ room being downtown stairs, it was easy for me to sleep in; I no longer heard the dishwasher clinking and swishing at 8am. It was peaceful.
The yard we sought out when building the house, we rarely used. The dogs were excited at first, exploring all the new scents, digging up chipmunks and scaring squirrels, but that soon lost its appeal. They preferred taking long naps on the couch versus chasing an old tennis ball around in the heat.
She had envisioned this house to be her last, the one She grew gray in with The Husband, and the one where her grandchildren would come visit her. She imagined summer dinner parties in which we'd open the French doors and people would meander through the house and flow out into the porch, drinks and food in hand, conversing until late hours, soft music drifting through the trees and twinkle lights looking like fairies in the night. But this never happened. In fact, any time the doors were open it caused Her Husband to bark that he wasn't paying to air condition the outside. To everyone on the outside, I’m sure it appeared to be a happy home. But it was far from it. Sometimes I think Her dreams started dying that first year in the house.
I wasn’t getting along with Her Husband. He didn't understand me or any of my interests and spent more time criticizing my actions and my likes than anything else. Even though She made this family for me because She thought I needed it, the truth was that all I needed was Her. It seemed like he just tried to come between us. When he tried to discipline me, I rebelled. In my eyes, it wasn't his place to do that. Needless to say, we fought over everything.
Since I’d returned from Ohio it was even worse. He resented me being there. Losing his job made it worse. He had to take out his anger on someone and it was me. I was trying to repair my head, heart, and my finances and getting in fights over the vacuum or how I did my laundry wasn't helping. Any shot at privacy I'd once had ceased to exist. My friends were no longer welcome to visit. Moving out was becoming essential to preserving my sanity.
I began by searching in the Fan, an area of downtown Richmond sought after by trendy 30 something's, college students, and indie hipsters. With it being late August, and the university back in session, housing was sparse and roommates sparser still. That was a sign that I should have noticed but ignored instead. Being idle wasn't an option anymore, I had to change, I had to be free, and if I made a mistake or it wasn’t the ideal situation, I would at least learn from it.
Out of desperation I posted my need for a roommate on Facebook. I had one reply: an acquaintance I hadn't seen since college. We had a few conversations on the phone about living together and met up to discuss it further. I knew he wasn't a fantastic choice but I convinced myself that it was only for a year and I could deal with that. I sensed he had a rocky past like me but he portrayed himself to be on a new path with a new frame of mind. I was ready for positive changes and a plan for self improvement and he echoed this.
Once again I packed up my Gnomes and left home.