I hadn’t spoken to The Beast in quite some time, and not since she’d moved from California into my dead grandparents’ retirement house in Idaho; a house that I spent much time at as a child. A house that is inevitably linked to the essence of my grandparents, (who were more like parents to me than the people I lived with). So, I had a weak spot when she called, I answered the phone more because I wanted to know how the house was doing, than I did how she was doing. And I got my wish, Rey and I fly in in a couple weeks.
I’ll be reunited with that three-story house and it’s sprawling yard in the middle of the mountains. Reunited with the red cedar decks that overlook the river; the river where I spent countless afternoons swimming and catching tadpoles and learning how to cast. But, most importantly, I’ll be closer to the memory of my grandparents than I have been in a long time. I’m overwhelmed, not only at being reunited with that special place and those special memories, but with the fact that The Beast is lying there in wait.
The hangover that I woke up with the morning after that call never left. I’ve been riddled with anxiety and diseases ever since. Every other thought is of plane crashes and car crashes. I’ve even gone so far as to imagine The Beast murdering me while I’m there. I’m suffering from arthritis, strep throat, breast cancer and cervical cancer. I can’t sleep at night because I’m plagued with these thoughts.
But it’s not just the thoughts of death that keep me up, it’s the nagging possibility that the real thing (the house, its smells, its contents, its nostalgia), won’t live up to my expectations; won’t be as grand as they were when I was a child basking in the love of my grandma and grandpa.
I’m terrified at the prospect that nothing will be exactly as I remember it. That my doll collection from the auction won’t be under the stairs in the garage where I left it. That the card house my grandpa and I built in the living room won’t be collapsed near the fire. Terrified that my grandpa’s straw hat won’t be hanging on the dining room chair and my grandma’s curlers won’t be under the bathroom sink. Yet, I know they won’t be.
But, what will be there is my mom, something I never wanted to encounter there.
Excuse me while I go bawl my eyes out.