I woke up staring at the ceiling. There were stains in the panels. Not terribly noticeable, but small light pools where water had gathered at one point. Another part of the ceiling sagged noticeably. They were all things that I should have noticed before, and yet they had attracted my attention for the first time. And in that I felt sadness, because I was only noticing these things now, after so many years here, and when I was so close to leaving.
I’ve never struggled to say goodbye to a home before. I’m usually ready to move on by then. But thats not the case this time. I know it’s time, but it’s a struggle, and as I dressed after getting out of bed, I felt tears well up in my eyes. Outside, it was sunny, with light clouds, and a view of the Rocky Mountains. When I was younger I was repelled by Boulder. Coming here in college left me feeling like being on the outside looking in, as if there was something everyone was a part of, that I couldn’t understand.
Now being here in Boulder brings me some degree of peace. I spent more of my adult life in this house than in any other place. It saw more versions of me than any other home. And if they weren’t the formative years, they were the most important years. I raised my daughter here, and lived alone here after she was gone.
I’ll miss my friend and roommate, who moved in, after my family moved to Germany. He cooks dinner, watches weird shows with me, and keeps me up to date about the Denver Nuggets. He made it feel like a home again after it had become a museum.
I’ll miss the small work room in the basement. Where it was quiet, simple, and always had enough light. I’ll miss the bedroom that was always cooler than the rest of the house and that helped me sleep. I’ll miss my coffee shop, the cafes, and the late breakfasts on weekend mornings. I’ll miss how close it is to the Flatirons and NCAR. I’ll miss the bike path that traces the creek, and leads through the simple and beautiful Boulder neighborhoods.
But more than anything, I’ll miss it because I’m saying goodbye to the little girl that would play in the backyard, and run into my bedroom in the morning. I’ll miss our Saturday morning ritual where we would walk to the small branch library to play and read books, and then the grocery store for bagels and chocolate milk, and then finish at Martin’s Park to play on the playground and throw rocks in the creek. This home is inextricably linked with her childhood for me. And her childhood will leave. I don’t have a choice in that. But it doesn’t make it hurt any less. And so I don’t want to leave, but I have to.