My mom’s been telling me to clean up for weeks now. The problem is that this isn’t my average botched tidying, where I reposition the trinkets on my nightstand for a couple of minutes and then go to sleep feeling slightly more fulfilled. This time around, my parents are gathering packing tape and boxes; once I graduate, we’re leaving the modern three-bedroom I’ve called home for the past 18 years.

It’s nearly shameful how distraught I’ve grown over the impending move. As I take time out of each day to glide my fingertips across every Benjamin Moore Navajo White wall and to trace the foyer floor’s familiar wooden crevices with my bare feet, I’ve come to realize the grieving process is in full swing. Some days I lie on my bathroom floor in silence for hours, admiring how my habitual failure to turn the fan on during showers has left my baby blue wallpaper curled up at the edges. I fiddle with light dimmers as though I’m messing with the exposures of my own mental camera, gazing at empty rooms while they shift hues in an attempt to ingrain their precious images in my mind forever. I never used to change my seat at the dinner table, but now I rotate every night to experience every possible view of my kitchen.

The list goes on. Perhaps I’m certifiably insane, but I think I’ve caught on to what scares me the most: nobody will ever love this house as much as I do. New owners won’t appreciate that the cutlery drawers have baby-proofing mechanisms from the year 2000 with fully functioning locks, unlike any of our bathroom doors. Any real estate agent would tell you that an unfinished basement doesn’t have much value, but I think that beneath those clouds of cotton candy insulation, our mess of rock posters and battered Victorian-era furniture is worth a whole lot. Potential buyers may not see the charm in the outdated intercom system that can only play Spanish radio, or the pencil sharpener that’s mysteriously drilled into our coat closet. Our stone wall desperately needs to be rebuilt, though I love watching the squirrels who scurry between the cracks. The old cherry blossom tree that drapes precariously close to telephone wires will eventually be cut down; we never had the heart to do it ourselves.

When my mom replaced our old refrigerator last week, I couldn’t help but shed a tear. The hulking stainless steel frame, the easily-accessible water dispenser, it was all so foreign and new. It’s just an appliance, Eve, I reasoned with myself. Still, even the tiniest breach in familiarity stung, as if accepting change was synonymous with accepting defeat.  

In the next few months, I have to do a lot of growing up and moving on. I have no clue how I’ll brave bidding loved ones adieu come August, as my farewells to a broken ice machine were painful enough. As easy as it is to write my behavior off as absurd, there’s meaning to my madness. My house has been as equally formative in my upbringing as family and friends. Its steep driveway made me take 14 years to learn how to ride a bike, and its expansive windows have rendered me excruciatingly fearful of the dark. I would not be who I am today without my childhood residency. And thus, I sulk, I wallow, and I accept what must be done, just as I would for any other difficult goodbye.


Eve Ogdon is a senior at Wilton High School. She shares this column with five classmates.