So Hard To Stay, Too Hard To Leave It

by Susan Pogorzelski on October 25, 2008 · 4 comments

I miss it now, I can’t believe it.
So hard to stay, too hard to leave it.
It’s hard to say it, time to say it,

Nickelback, “Photograph”

It’s quiet in my apartment — almost a type of soothing silence, if it weren’t for the wind howling through the trees outside and the raindrops trickling against windows. Roommate and I just finished up Day One of The Big Clean, and I’m left alone here as I shut down the music that has been keeping us company and finish whatever I can before the night is over. It’s a new day tomorrow, and I’ll be back to vacuum and dust and spackle the walls…but right now, as I sit on the floor of the apartment that used to be mine, I feel almost serene. Bittersweet. And a little lonely.

The white walls are bare, devoid of the paintings that used to occupy the space in the living room and make it ours. The only objects left on the floor are an empty trash bag, some newspaper, and items yet to be taken to Goodwill. All of our furniture is either in our new locations or hidden away in storage. This place that we’ve called home these past two years — this place that saw us struggle and change and grow, that invited friends and laughter and shunned heartache and sorrow — this place is empty, save for our memories that have enveloped us like the walls of each room. These memories will be the last thing we carry with us as we shut the door to this chapter in our lives.

The day was full of reminiscence for us, and although we laughed, beneath that mask was a level of sadness and, maybe, regret. Do you remember when we decorated for Christmas and strung the lights around the counters? Or how about when I made you, Roommate, wear a scarf as a babushka when we trimmed the tree? Movie nights and long conversation and moments of silent friendship as we sat in the living room immersed in our laptops. Food experiments gone wrong — and right — and ice cream runs down the block and cheers to only one glass of wine.

Every inch of this place felt like home. This is where I first brought Riley after adopting him, where he pounced after his toys and howled out the window, his tail wagging as he spotted another dog on the pathway behind our building. This is where Mikey fell in love with Ellie, after some hesitation, after months of Roommate and I anxiously wondering how the two cats would get along. This is where our own friendship was cemented; where best friend became more than words.

I’m ready to start another chapter in my life; I’m ready for the adventure that awaits me and the opportunities that are along this winding road I’m on, but yet a part of me wishes I didn’t have to leave behind so much in order to go forward. I know that you take a piece of each place with you. But maybe, sometimes, you also leave a piece of yourself behind.

And now, with only cleaning supplies on the counter and a vacuum in a corner, it feels very hollow, very empty. Very much like a piece of my past.

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{ 4 comments… read them below or add one }

Monica October 25, 2008

I felt this way each year I moved out of a dorm room in college, after I moved out of my first apartment after college ( I loved!!! that roommate) and when I moved out of my first apartment after I moved out of my mother’s house.

Change happens, and sometimes unfortunately we have to let some things go so that we can make room for new things.

Try to think about it this way; you outgrew your old place and are moving on up to something bigger and better 😀

Monica – That *is* a great way of looking at it. For awhile I thought that I was so prepared, but looking at all of the emptiness was more difficult than I had imagined. The act of things changing I can be prepared for, I’ve realized, but the emotions that come with it are sometimes surprising. I’m anxiously looking forward to whatever else life has to offer, but it’s nice to look back in fondness at how far I’ve come and what brought me to this point. Your fortitude in the face of change is definitely something to be admired; I wish you the best for whatever decisions and changes you find yourself. – Susan


audiotheater October 26, 2008

Awww. I know what you mean, though. That last look at your place, knowing that it used to be home and it never will be again. Sad. You said it well and brought back memories for me. I remember being very sad leaving an apartment my wife and I lived in, years ago. Like you, though (I’m sure) it was moving on to the next adventure. Now, we live in our dream home and have our wonderful son. Sad as that was, there’s no comparison to now.

Anyway – good luck on the move.

Audiotheater – It’s such a bittersweet time, isn’t it? On the precipice of something new while fondly remembering the old…That’s what makes change such a challenge: you’re in the doorway, between the familiar inside, which holds your past, and the unknown outside — your future and the rest of the world. It takes courage to cross that threshold, and as sad as it is to leave, I’m glad to be moving on. I’m so glad that your similar decisions and subsequent adventures have been positive for you. We never know where life will take us, but it seems that it has led you to a bigger and better place. Thanks for your well wishes and wishing you continued best, – Susan


defygravity84 October 26, 2008

…and where we left for London, on our very first independent overseas vacation, where we prepared for our very first “real” jobs out of college. In that living room, we anxiously built the very first furniture we could call our own, and held those hours long conversations covering everything from boys to bosses to hitting it big in life. We read and encouraged each other’s stories (I’ll work on Devon, I swear!), and we discovered our dreams– of month-long sojourns to France and of careers in publishing. It saw us laugh and cry and held our secrets between the walls.

Even as we look back with sadness, I couldn’t ever imagine having another experience as wonderful as the past two years in that apartment, and I couldn’t have dreamed a better roommate. Thank you, from the bottom of my heart, for absolutely everything. I’m excited to see what the future brings to both of us (and if it includes the two of us living our perfect lives just a few doors down from each other!).

Roommate – Your post made me cry a few days ago when I read it, and still it’s hard to respond. I will not cry; I will not cry! Damn you. Hang on while I grab the kleenex…

You and I have been on a remarkable journey, whether we have recognized it or not. What’s even more remarkable is that, through our friendship, we were able to do it all together. Your comment says it all — laughter and dreams, tears and frustration…That little place of ours saw everything. What’s important for me to realize, and what I’m just now finding out for myself, is that those things aren’t defined by a space, but rather by the relationship that we’ve formed with each other. I could laugh and cry with you, I could vent and tease and threaten you to keep writing not because of the carpet we walked on but because of where we’ve walked together. And that comes from a strong friendship that will continue to grow as we make our next place a home — be that together or apart, be that in England or France or Boston or New York. A home is what you make of it, and we had a great one. But a friendship is what you make of it, too. And we’ve built a strong one.

I am always, always here for you. Much friendship and more love, – Susan


The Josh October 27, 2008

I felt that way the other day, when my kids said goodbye to me for the last time. Grace was all set for an adventure, bless her little heart. Kid’s not afraid of anything. But Livi… poor thing was terrified to leave me. She’s never hugged me so tight as that last hug before Georgia stopped being her home.

But I have faith, just as I hope you do, that everything will be just fine. Trust me when I tell you that inside your comfort zone is the worst place to grow as a person. When life tosses you out on your ass, it’s because that’s exactly what you need in order to realize your potential.

A broken heart is just proof that you have a heart to break.

Which is a good thing. Smooches.

Josh – Even in the simplest of words you have words of wisdom to share, and I’m always in awe for how well those words resonate with me. Somehow, you always know just what to say to make me feel better.

I wish more than anything that you didn’t have to go through the pain of saying goodbye. And yet, for some selfish reason, I’m grateful that I can take your situation and learn from it, because I understand. I’ve known people like Gracie, and I admire so much their spirit. But Livi…oh, man, I feel for her because I know exactly what is going through her mind. We’ll be ok in the end, but we cling to what comfort we can for as long as possible, afraid to let go and say goodbye, not really realizing that goodbye doesn’t have to mean permanency. And, usually, it never does.

Change is always hard for me, but I’ve realized that once I go through with it, I’m pretty quick to adapt. And maybe that’s the key to it all. Nothing that’s strong really changes; distance is just that something in between. Much love, – Susan


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