I am lost. It’s as if I am a sleepwalker woken up in another room. Even the face of my waker is a stranger to me. Nothing is where I left it; my books closed and unread, abandoned in piles at my bedside. This Autumn, a season of such unexpected warmth and sunshine, has left me in darkness. I am constantly cold. Some days I leave my coat on until my daughter comes home from school. I tear it off and shove it into the closet when I hear her footstep at the front door. I bake and I cook but I don’t eat. While my family swirls in and out of this little house I am left standing at a center that I cannot hold. But, I am trying, so very hard. For the first time I am so separate from my children that sometimes I don’t even say goodnight to my daughter, embarrassed that at 8:30 I can’t keep my head up anymore. She is in her room, chatting, working, singing Christmas carols in a high, sweet soprano, and I am in mine, a single lamp puddling light on a book that won’t be read. I am homesick and I can’t go home.
It is a fact that I tend toward melancholy. This is not to be confused with having a sentimental streak. THAT I do not. At our recent yard sale—which nearly killed me and several of the shoppers—I all but threw merchandize (including vintage linen and quilts, 60-year old, pristine kid gloves, silver plate whiskey sour muddlers and a set of library steps) at the milling crowd. “Take it,” I screamed, “Just get it out of here!” When a particularly creepy man asked us if there was more to see inside the house I almost told him “Yes, just go in there and strip the joint!”