A long time ago, there was a family. They wanted a house with room to grow. After much searching, the perfect candidate was located. It had a huge yard with plenty of room for dogs and kids to play, beautiful stained woodwork in an area where painted was the standard, and a large comfortable kitchen.
Over the years, the woman put her stamp on the house. Walls were painted, furniture purchased. Of course as the family grew in size and number, bigger changes were made—a playroom was added, the master bath was renovated to allow for more closet space and hallelujah a bathtub where she could soak away the cares of the day.
The crowning glory, a couple of decades into residence, after the kids were almost grown and thousands of meals had been prepared and served—a new kitchen. The one that came with the house had served its purpose, but its shortcomings had become apparent over the years, and it was worn and faded, much like the marriage of the couple who lived there.
The new kitchen was everything the woman thought she wanted—it was arranged efficiently, the finishes, the appliances, every last detail chosen with excruciating care. Of course the actual construction had the usual delays and challenges of any remodeling project, but the end result was well worth the time and effort.
But all the paint and cabinetry and tile and shiny new stainless steel appliances couldn’t fill the emptiness inside the woman. She began to disengage—finding new interests, new friends—people who saw her as a person, not merely as a part of the house. She told one of these new friends she felt like a ghost in her own home, as if no one there could actually see her.
The changes in the woman didn’t sit well with her family, who were shocked and disappointed to find she might want more out of life the joy of folding their underwear in perfect thirds and preparing dinner for them every night--then cleaning up the detritus alone as they scattered to their activities, their friends, their lives.
After much angst and more than a few tears, she left, taking with her little more than her clothes—walking away from the house which had so defined her for most of her adult life, and leaving a confused, bitter and angry family behind.
Now she splits her existence between two places, neither one of which is home. Her toothbrush doesn’t sit on the vanity in a bathroom any more. When she leaves, she carefully removes all traces of her existence, so as not to be an imposition on anyone.
Living this half-life is very strange, but it’s part of the transition process. With time, she will re-emerge, whole, brightly hued, and settled somewhere. In one of the places where she stays there is a small picture of a sailboat, the words below read:
A ship in a harbor is safe.
But that’s not what a ship is for.
A ghost ship now, she sails uncharted waters, looking for the sunrise that will bring her back to life.