thank you for the music

Today we four journeyed to Port Townsend to clean our previous house and establish closure on our tenure living there. Originally it was to be a “girls’ day” where I came up alone to meet with a group of friends to help clean, but these last few days I have felt a lack of family time; I ask Ralph and the four of us make the trip together.

Two friends are a no-show but the other three are there – and have already started cleaning my house! A small setback: no water. It takes me a while to figure this out and Ralph has to go to the local auto parts store to find a wrench. I find out cleaning with tubs of water from the neighbor’s hose really sucks: mostly from the cold. When Ralph finds the solution and hot comes streaming from the tap it is almost a luxury to clean. Stephanie scrubs walls and floors with a thoroughness I just can’t muster from within myself. Abbi, Ralph, and Christee take turns with the fridge and I ask if anyone there knows who stole my placenta from Nels’ birth? I am not kidding; it went missing. Spooky.

The entire job takes about an hour and a half. Thank God for a rather clutter-and-dirt free life and thank Sweet Baby Jesus even more for friends who are there for me. Thank you, really.

As I finish rooms I say goodbye to each: “Goodbye, Bathroom Number One.” The bedrooms Ralph and I fought in and loved in and nursed new babies in. The shower where I miscarried and the back bedroom where I birthed Nels. A family made in love, error, and intention; now poured out of our crucible and forged strong for a new life.

Abbi joins us for lunch at the Water Street Brew Pub and we dine majestically, and for me this includes a fine Bloody Mary and delicious fish tacos, plus dessert besides. We talk and talk and share lives that are forking in the road but cannot be torn asunder.

We hug Abbi and say goodbye, then hit the road. Coming back to and leaving Port Townsend has been painful, a last booty call in a relationship moved on from. As we drive my daughter asks us to say goodbye: as we pass through towns, “Goodbye, Port Townsend!” “Goodbye, Hadlock!” “Goodbye, Chimacum!” A pause, then Nels: “Goodbye, Ghost Rider!” Whatever the fuck that was about.

The kids fall asleep soon and Ralph and I discuss, mostly, computers. We’re home by 6:30 PM to my mother’s homemade burgers. My father has eaten even more of that pie, by the way.

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