Empty nest.

I’m painting a cabinet robin’s-egg blue.
The cabinet will sit next to a tiny oven in my tiny new apartment.
The apartment’s tiny kitchen has plenty of room to store plates and cups but only two tiny drawers. Not nearly enough room for my forks and spoons and knives, for all the expensive spatulas and whisks and other bizarre silicon implements I’ve used only a handful of times.

I’m moving. Into a tiny new apartment, on my own again.
Because the Knight told me he wanted to stay in ours. On his own again.
In the building I’ve lived in and loved for the past two and a half years.

The big bed we shared, the one we spent a day picking out and weeks waiting to be delivered, will be his big bed soon.
Just his.
Somehow, in the past week, I’ve gotten used to sleeping alone in that bed. And now I’ll have to get used to another new bed, my old double bed in a different place.

You wanted a fresh start, he said, so here’s your chance.

My new block is a one-way street lined with trees and narrow old buildings. That beautiful, crumbling architecture is cut up into awkward little apartments and paved-over backyard patio spaces. I saw the apartment on Saturday morning, signed the paperwork that night and picked up my keys Sunday morning. My furniture will make its way there on Saturday afternoon; this all has happened in the bleary blink of an eye.
The neighborhood is quiet, just far enough away from swerving, honking Division Street to allow for some peace. For someone, anyway.
But it’s a different quiet than I’m used to.
Lincoln Square is never noiseless; it’s always been softened by this idyllic hum of soft white noise. Birds and whooshing traffic off Western Avenue. The occasional crack of a bat knocking one out of the park. The palpable, near-audible vibrations of the guitars up the street at the Old Town School.
The quiet of the East Village — this foreign, far-off place — is uncomfortable. The birds don’t sing so close to the alley. I don’t hear the neighbors, and the Knight will never play his guitar in the next room. I already miss the click-clack of the upstairs neighbor’s heels at 7 a.m.
The silence feels pervasive. The hum of my air conditioner masks and deadens everything. Isolation.

Still, I know it can get better. It will, eventually.
I know, because it always does.
Right?

The sun was shining yesterday, and the heat finally broke a little.
When I showed up with my first carload of framed photos, the next-door neighbors’ little girls were shrieking and splashing in their hot-pink baby pool, playing with My Little Pony figurines.
I had those when I was little. And hundreds of plastic miniatures that we kept in big, cylindrical tins that originally held corporate holiday gifts of butter, caramel and cinnamon popcorn. I don’t remember playing with the figurines, really — there were never story lines or characters associated with them — from what my mother tells me, I just lined them up on the edge of the coffee table, over and over, and it kept me entertained for hours.
Nothing like a good sense of order to placate me.

For now, my life is in total disarray.
Almost everything feels awful and wrong and broken, though I know this decision is good and right and possibly the only way to fix those broken things.
Nothing is ever simple.

Nothing but this: a new paint brush, a quart of oil-based paint, a bare wooden cabinet. Last night, I started slopping on that first patchy coat of “Cloudless,” the color I’d picked out.
It doesn’t really go with anything right now, but I wanted it robin’s-egg blue.
The particleboard and wood grain still showed through after the first thin layer of color, but I sat back when I was finished, sandy-eyed and sleepless, and started to visualize my life taking shape again.
Hoping this empty nest, with its little splash of robin’s-egg blue, won’t feel that way for too long.

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5 Responses to “Empty nest.”

  1. Christine Says:

    Though it's painful for you, I loved reading this entry. Mostly because I've been there myself. It's cliche, but you'll find everything gets easier. You'll cry a bit less. You'll figure out how to do things on your own that you always did together. You'll have a emotional breakdown when you get a flat-tire and realize that the person you always called for help isn't there anymore. You'll adapt. You'll laugh. You'll learn to love your life for reasons more important than you did when you were together. Trust you made the right decision and the pieces of your life are not less complete, but different than they were before. You're still the same Paige and that's what matters. -Cee.

  2. Goody Says:

    ah…welcome to the sisterhood…i too made this huge life altering decision {after 12+ years} recently so while i never say i know how you feel…i wish you more sunshine…oh and welcome to my hood!

  3. Caleb Says:

    Congrats on your new start, even though it's hard. But we'll miss you in Lincoln Square!

  4. Anonymous Says:

    Not to worry, when you're ready to start dating again, there will be no shortage of guys lining up to go out with a smart (and beautiful) girl like you.

  5. Whimsical and unsettling. Says:

    […] Somehow, everything fits here. Even the robin’s egg–blue cabinet. […]

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