Characterizing it as “my old house” is not really accurate at all. I don’t keep records of this sort of thing, but I would guess that I lived here for just four or five months when I was a kid, and that all the visits might push my combined duration of occupancy to just over a year. Maybe a year and a half.
Being there is the most cruel reminder of how much time has passed since I moved to the States, now almost ten years ago. Ten years without sleep.
I saw things I put down on tables or nailed into the walls exactly as they were when I escaped in 1996. Leaving when I had the chance was the best decision I ever made. What makes it cruel is how I’ve squandered so much time since then. I know I crammed two years of college level work into my last two years of high school, followed by two years of actual college, and I’m proud of that, too. But god, what happened after that?
I’m almost done unpacking all the things I looted from Grandma and Mom’s houses. Mom doesn’t think Grandma would mind my having them, and Mom’s happy to let me take all the Asian and Middle Eastern things I want to make me feel more at home in my place here.
I didn’t have much of a connection with my Grandmother, and I’m not even sure she liked me. She was always my favourite grandmother, though, because she left me alone. She was old and raised eight children, so she didn’t need or really desire the affections of her eleven grandchildren. She just wanted to see us every now and then and not have get bothered too much, and I respected that.
Mom drove to Los Angeles with me and the cat but she’s flying back tomorrow. She says she’ll meet my new friends and visit with old ones on her next visit. To be honest, my mother’s never been that social a person, kind of like Grandma, and I think my telling her of Larry David’s discovery that the death of a family member can get you out of any favours or social obligations has given her new inspiration in this area. She doesn’t act at all sad or depressed that her mother is dead, but she will quite matter-of-factly remind me of it whenever she wants me to change the channel or go to the kitchen to get her a Coke®.
I might be joking about some of that.