"You don't have to live like a refugee." Tom Petty
For nearly 10 years our house in Austin has been more than a home and not quite a home at the same time (a sort of Mid-Century Post-Modern place).
A lot of things happened while we lived here. For a few years it was the place where we had parties, Thanksgiving dinners with Texas-types and non-Texas types, visits from children, grandchildren; parents visited (my father, Dauna's mother) and siblings showed up a few times. I turned 60 here, then 65; Dauna turned 50 and then 55. We became older than that. Our mothers died a few years apart while we lived here. Dauna's best friend here died from cancer. My brother was killed in a motorcycle accident in Florida. We collected art. Dauna earned a Ph.D. (that's why we came). She deserved it. I became, of all the unlikely things I never thought about becoming, a corporate vice president. I also worked for the worst boss I've ever known - longer than I worked for anyone anywhere in my life. It took more than two years of therapy to untangle the mess and grope my way out of the dark place I was in because of that man and that job (I did it with the help of the best therapist I've ever had - and I've had a few over the past 40+ years. He was so good that I untangled lots of other old crap in my life while I was at it. Dauna dealt with her own issues - with a little help of her own). We survived things in this house that would have crushed other couples. Sometimes I wobbled, sometimes she wobbled, but our marriage never wobbled a bit. No matter what happened we always leaned toward each other, never away. We learned things we never knew about each other and pushed deeper into what it means to be really married than either of us thought was possible. Over time we wrapped the house close around the two of us and it became OUR house, as houses usually do for us, and closed the door. It felt like home. But it wasn't. Quite. It was our hiding place.
We love this house and are on intimate terms with its walls, windows, cracks, creaks, quirks, the feel of the floors under our bare feet, where the light switches are along the dark hallway. We should be happy and count our blessings here. But we can't. The house is in the wrong place. Austin, Texas. And Austin not-Texas (self-proclaimed without a trace of irony). But Austin is just another version of the wrong place. In fact, I think the Texas state motto should be: The Wrong Place. I'll bet that's what Davy Crockett was thinking as he died from a bad case of Mexicanitis at the Alamo. "I am in the wrong place, amigo." And the Mexican(s) said, "Si, senor." Or maybe the motto should be: "Where Davy Crockett came to die." Homey happiness and blessing-counting eluded us here. So more and more this house has been our refuge from Texas.
But who wants to live like a refugee? We've done that long enough. We need a home.
Selling this house has been a surprisingly unemotional experience but that is because my emotional attachment is where it's always been - hundreds of miles to the west of here. And Dauna's has shifted in that direction too. So we're almost gone, feelin' strong and about to sing our victory song, as the Eagles sang (approximately) in a song (in an entirely different context) a long time ago. But it all means the same thing. We're out of here. Almost. And pretty soon Texas will have to eat its lunch all by itself. Woo-hoo-hoo. Woo-hoo-hoo.