The state of the chateau.

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I have a few moments post-packing, post-homework, to write something substantial on What Is Going On.

I’m doing all right. I think the cats are in various levels of “all right” — Torgi is obviously very confused, but Zen is fine as long as she has me around and some kernels in her bowl. Tomorrow the housecleaners are here, and also a wonderful TaskRabbit named Gabriela is helping me take all of the donations to Goodwill. I will make a run to the storage space with some of the little stuff in a Zipcar before I go to my in-laws’ for dinner, my last at their house for a while. This is difficult to process.

FunkyPlaid has been amazing as always, and as supportive as he can be from so far away, but there is nothing quite like being alone in the evenings for this phase of it. Trying to keep up with schoolwork has been tough, but I just received an A on a paper I was struggling with last week, so I must be doing all right.

Le Chateau de Jambon looks astoundingly different without our stuff in it. Torgi is huddled with me on one of the remaining sofas as I write. We are in the room that has so often been filled with smiling faces. I am thinking of the house shows and the parties, and then of the near-silent nights with just soft breathing and cat snores and the foghorns so close.

I am thinking of crying myself to sleep last Saturday night after singing karaoke and then feasting on South Indian food with my friends.

I am thinking of my mom’s voice in my study as we spoke quietly about the future, my future and her future and San Francisco and that I would leave it someday.

I am thinking of my dad’s voice just a few short weeks ago as he sat right where I am now and spoke of this departure in terms of days instead of somedays.

I am thinking of how the house sounded so warm and cozy with all of our stuff in it, and now it is a giant, cold cavern that echoes with every footfall, even the littlest paws.

Melodrama comes easily to me, as does melancholy, so I know I need to be focusing on the wonderful thing just ahead. Still, this house became a symbol to me. The first time I ever saw it, FunkyPlaid had just returned from Scotland in 2004, and he was so excited to be here. I was hesitant and a poor guest because circumstances were different between us, and I had no idea how to comport myself. I was awkward and I stared at the homely tile in the kitchen briefly before running off, then hated myself for it.

I saw this house again when we reunited, and I fell in love with its warmth and luxury as surely as I fell in love with FunkyPlaid. When his home became our home, I could not believe that I deserved such a beautiful place.

I grew to believe it. It took a while. And then, after he left for our new home, I dismantled this one, piece by lovely piece.

The symbol is taunting me. I am seeing it right now not as a to-do list to check off but as a culmination of love, of safety and laughter and home-cooked meals, of a place I always belonged no matter how wretched I felt about the world just outside its door.

It is so much harder to leave than I thought it would be.

7 thoughts on “The state of the chateau.

  1. Kieran

    Beautifully written, it’s no surprise you papers are returned with ‘A’ inscribed on them. It sounds like you have made great progress with packing, which is a monumental achievement. Leaving is nearly always hard. Arriving, on the other hand, will be much easier and a just reward.

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  2. Martha

    Hey Halsted. It’s also much harder for us than we realized. I know Edinburg is lucky to have you, I know you are supremely lucky to have FunkyPlaid. All will be well. But I will miss having you here, and am afraid I am losing you completely – so far away you will be. Please know that even though we see each other rarely, you are an inspriation to my heart & mind.

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  3. Gwen Cone

    Beautifully written.  You both made such a lovely and wonderful nest together and I am grateful we were able to visit and bask in the hearth’s glow.  I’m hoping for the smoothest journey possible for you and the cats and a lovely reunion on the other shore. 

    Here’s to global friendships!

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  4. Inkbot

    only you, my dear, could wrap this moment up in such a personal and profound word-blanket. and, hey, we eat the same kind of M&Ms! melodrama & melancholy–def. dark chocolate. hugs and i hope when next i see you it’s in your new scottish chateau! 

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  5. Robert

    I am beyond impressed with what you accomplished to make the move happen. I’m also honored to have memories of great times shared at le chateau. And lastly, very excited and envious of the adventure that awaits you. We hope to pop over (the Atlantic) for a visit soon!

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  6. Ang

    I am so sad to know that le Chateau soon will be no more….

    Here’s a photo from the first fire we built in the fireplace when we first moved in.

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