But it was far from perfect. The renovation was complete, but the kitchen had yet to be installed, and all my furniture was still swaddled in plastic, crammed into the living space along with ten moving boxes filled with my belongings. But I didn’t mind—not the current state of my furnishings, nor the plaster dust still floating in the air and covering every surface. My place was mine, again.
Gone was the mold that made me cough and wheeze; the scent of wood and fresh paint greeted me at the door, just as it did the day I first came home four years ago. My home was new and fresh, and whole again.
I couldn’t do much about the mess in the living room, not until the kitchen was installed, so I unpacked my soaps and shampoos and other HBA whatnots, and loaded up my bathroom cabinets, reclaiming a room that was once a gaping, waterlogged wound. In my sleeping alcove, the bed got fresh linens to celebrate that this night I would finally once again sleep in my own house. There would only be sweet dreams. The nightmare was over.
The following week, Darty installed my new and much-written-about kitchen. It was as beautiful as the rendering promised—more so, because it was here and now. (More…)
Once the kitchen was installed, I unpacked every box, pulled the plastic off my furniture, mopped and cleaned up the plaster dust. It took 5 hours to find places for all my dishes and pans in the new kitchen, and to redecorate my apartment as it once was. After it was done, I sat back and took it all in.
My chest tightened, my face grew warm, and the tears came. The sobs. Whatever I had been holding in these many months—all the anger, the pain—welled up and spilled over. Then, like the leak itself, the tears dried up. What was left was peace, and joy.
The last thing I did was rehang a pair of plaques my sister Maria and I found in the attic of our childhood home when we were cleaning it out after our mother died. The date on the newspaper the plaques were wrapped in told us they’d been packed in the same box probably since our parents’ wedding. Maybe they were a wedding gift Ma didn’t much like, but I loved them for their kitschy French-ness, and four years ago, I carried them in my suitcase to hang in my new Paris place. As soon as they were once again on the wall, it was as if nothing had ever happened—as if the day I moved out and this day had somehow stitched themselves together.
“Closure,” my friend Steven texted me when I sent photos of my place restored. Yes. Home was home again.
Take a tour of my apartment, here.