By 10:45 AM, the van was loaded, and the rental
car Carole was driving was filled with pillows, blankets, kids and dogs.
The sheriff, the realtor, the locksmith and the contractor were coming in fifteen minutes, to forcibly remove anyone from the premises, inspect the house, and lock us out forever.
The one thing I begged Carole, was that none of us were around to see it go down.
We took one quick run throughout the house to see if we forgot anything important. Each room flooded us with three years of memories. The Christmas tree in the living room, where the kids unwrapped gifts we couldn’t afford, was knocked over on the floor with only “milestone ornaments” removed from it… Every crayon mark in the kid’s rooms that grew taller each year… The attic, where Christina had planned to convert into a loft bedroom for her college years… The dining room, where family came up to celebrate Thanksgivings with us… The master bedroom, where Carole and I shared our hopes and dreams, and even had our fights that should have ended up in a bitter divorce countless times…
… all about to be gone in a matter of minutes.
Left behind were all the kid’s bikes, clothes we probably haven’t worn in years, bedframes, desks and tables that couldn’t be taken apart in time…
… and “Betsy”. The four-cylinder 1987 Chevy Celebrity that faithfully rushed Erika to Schneider’s Childrens Hospital in the nick of time, to and from Flea Markets and catering gigs all over Queens. The car we moved up here in… and died from all the mountains and mileage.
Spanky, and Ashley’s black cat, Cujo. Both buried in the back of our property. Well, you really didn’t think I was digging them up, did you?
Carole sobbed hysterically as she started the car. “All my grandmother’s money… for nothing.”
According to the kids, she cried the entire ride.
Steve secured the last of the stuff on top of the van, and started the engine up. I took one final look at 1145 Timber Drive… Its half-completed sunroom; The cement block that Sharp Image filled for the kids to put their tiny handprints in, as a present for their mommy, with “Brooks Kids 1999” scrawled on top.
I’m angry, exhausted, queasy and bitter at all the bad decisions we made.
What could have been….
I flicked my cigarette at the garage door and muttered: “Last one out… put a fucking match to this place.”
With all the feeling of a television “season finale”, we drove out of the driveway. Past the half-dozen “FOR SALE” signs throughout Candlewood Estates.