|I want to smooch her fury face.|
I feel about my living quarters the way I feel about my job. Unless I’m signing a book deal, never again do I want to sit across from a stranger, presenting some limited version of my best self, trying to convince her / him that I’m worth his / her investment. Likewise, why bother moving unless it’s for something really great?
Up north they call it a FROG room, for Front Room Above Garage, but “Treehouse” fits. Except for the tile floors and bathroom walls, it’s all wood. It’s shaded everywhere by a variety of Coral Gables’ foliage. The name also gives my dwelling a little je ne sais quoi.
I’ve hidden all sorts of fun things in the Treehouse for myself. There’s a Hopper print, a signed Palahniuk poster, my 2nd-place cook-off ribbon, and a Bright Eyes concert poster taped inside various cabinetry. A framed Tank Girl picture hanging in my walk-in closet. A typewriter by the door is my mezuzah. There are tiny stone turtles and large dream catchers in the windows. As a little bit of cheer to ease the transition into living alone, the name works. I’ve only realized now that the name has allowed me to avoid saying “home.”
I used to have artwork from Cake CDs in the archway between the kitchen and the living room, but I took them all down this week. They stopped looking cheery and started looking like clutter. I must be more acclimated to my own space.
I also realize why I waited three months to bring Minime here; she is tied into my past with Andi. Of course she is, you vacuous, imbecilic moron, I hear you saying (I’m just kidding; we rarely think thoughts as hateful of others as we think of ourselves), what’s your next keen insight? Teenagers are hormonal? Chocolate is yummy?
When I was packing up to move, some of the things I left behind surprised Andi.
“Are you trying to eliminate any trace of me?” she asked, only half-joking. As if I could. If I stripped naked, tossed all my possessions, and moved to a new city, my tattoos would follow me. I don’t have “Andi and Aaron Forever and Ever” tattooed on my heart or anything, but we used to go to Zopie’s Caffeine Fix together. Does that reminder of Zopie's count as a reminder of Andi? What about the time we were tripping our balls off, making fun of the Tank Girl tattoo on my thigh, which barely looks like Tank Girl’s tattoo?
This is my problem with Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind; “Go through your house and take away anything which reminds you of her.” It’s a neat idea for a story. Charlie Kaufman looks at mementos of past relationships and thinks, what if one could use these objects to map the human brain and eliminate memories? There is no collection of objects which can contain a person, and no way to remove all traces of a person from your life without removing yourself. The way every song speaks to you when you’re falling in love, it works in reverse when you’re falling out. Even if I had those tattoos removed, our sixteen years together would remain in me.
Is Minime a stronger connection to the past than my CDs, DVDs, clothes, dishes, shoes, and sheets because she’s alive? Is it harder to make new memories around a fuzzy, pink-nosed baby than an object? If Minime hadn’t scratched a little girl's eyelid badly enough to warrant a trip to urgent care, how much longer would I have dragged my heels?
Both my delay in bringing her here and the motivations behind that delay are obvious in retrospect. Most likely, they were obvious to an outside observer.
It makes me worry about what other obvious things I’m missing.