I miss our old home
We’ve moved recently. Our new apartment is in all ways an improvement over the one we lived in for the past eleven years. And still, I miss our old place. I notice that my thoughts frequently wander back to Calle Diputacio 182 and from time to time I look at the photos of the apartment I took in the months before we moved. There’s the table Felipe made on which to put my journals of the past forty years, the small wooden Mexican monk on my desk with its flaking paint and the many scratches, the colorful methacrylate statue Felipe gave me for my birthday several years ago, the balcony with its long row of cacti where we used to sit and Felipe would have his tequila before lunch.
I haven’t gone back there even though our old apartment hasn’t been sold yet and it’s only a fifteen-minute walk from where we now live. When I’m in that neighborhood I make sure to walk on the other side of the street with my head turned away.
Going back into the empty apartment would be like seeing an old friend who has passed away in state. I don’t want to see her face with the life drawn out, I want to hold on to the image of the way she was, laughing with a twinkle in her eye.
Our old apartment is a container of my memories, the lunch after the opening of an exhibition in Barcelona where Ferdinand and Barbara sat at the round table in lively conversation with other friends. The visits from Joep and Jacqueline who sometimes came to Barcelona from Amsterdam just to have dinner with us, I see Ingrid sitting on the sofa delightedly talking about the video of one of our artists she had just seen while caressing our little French bulldog. They are all no longer here.
How will the friends who’ve passed away in the last eleven years find us back now that we’ve moved?
Shall I scribble our new address in a corner of the freshly painted walls? Or shall I write a little note and hide it behind the dining room plinth?
The fact that such an absurd thought comes up indicates that somewhere in my mind I interpret packing up and leaving as admitting that they will never come back.
While writing this I realize that it’s them I miss so keenly, not the apartment itself. And that understanding might help me to let go.