I don’t want to be here. I can’t wait to move out of this house. That sounds terrible, I know. After all, it’s a beautiful old building. I used to love it here but those days are gone and it’s time for me to move on. Sometimes, that’s just the right thing to do, you know? But I’m stuck. I can’t go yet and it makes me crazy.
I am trying to move. It isn’t as if I’m just sitting around, passively waiting for other people to take care of me. That was always what Martin said. He said I would never lift a finger for myself. We used to fight about that a lot, actually. I was never lazy. I just didn’t run on Martin’s schedule.
“Arla, you need to be more proactive.”
“I don’t understand why it takes you so long to make decisions, Arla,”
“It’s like you want me to do everything for you.”
I heard that sort of thing from Martin constantly. At first, I tried to do as he asked. I’d try to make more concrete plans for my life. I’d make lists, schedules, and color code my calendar. I even tried to figure out Google calendars which is saying something because I have always been technologically stunted. But it was hard. I’m not really a linear thinker, you know? I tried to explain that to Martin.
“I have tried. You know I have. I just can’t live by a schedule the way you do.”
“The calendar is taking over my life, Martin. I spend more time making schedules, lists, and updating it all on the calendar than I spend actually doing any of the things I’m writing down.”
“I just don’t think such structured organization works for me. I can see it works really well for you and I have tried. I just can’t.”
All I accomplished was to make Martin really pissed. Sadly, my response to his anger was to get pissed right back. Bigger pissed. Meaner pissed. That, naturally, ramped him up, too. I guess you could say we lacked good communication skills.
In the end, Martin moved out. I figured it was for the best and I was pretty grateful we didn’t have any kids to be upset by it all. I did offer to be the one to move so he could have the house. After all, he was the one who really wanted this old house. I was more than happy to get a nice, modern, non-drafty apartment downtown and let him stay in this Victorian ice palace. When it came down to it, though, Martin couldn’t afford it. He had expensive tastes and all the organization in the world couldn’t make him save his money. Admittedly, organization kept him from going bankrupt, but his credit was kept hovering just below maximum. There was no room for a mortgage payment like the one on this place.
Martin was not a happy camper when he moved. It took him most of a week to pack everything in carefully labeled and catalogued boxes. He bitched about it the whole time. I tried to keep quiet and just let him talk. I figured I could ignore anything for just a few more days. I almost made it, but Martin pushed me just a little too far.
“I can’t believe I can’t fit the china cabinet into that sorry excuse for a home I’m moving into. I hate leaving it here with you. You’re getting all the best of everything I’ve collected for this place,” he said.
“You can have anything you want, Martin,” I answered. “It’s all your style, not mine.”
“And you don’t deserve any of it,” he hissed. “This house is a showplace, thanks to my good taste. You sat on your fat ass and left it all to me. That’s the story of your life, Arla. You’re like a leech. You just feed off of anyone around you who’s willing to carry you along. You’re nothing but a fat, revolting parasite.”
“Get out,” I said, flatly. “You can come back with a sheriff to get your shit. I’ll have all the boxes waiting for you in the foyer, but you’re getting your ass out of here right now.”
In the five years that Martin and I had been together, I had never heard him use the sort of language he used then. He didn’t yell. He kept his voice at a pretty normal volume, actually. But every word was like spitting venom. I had no idea he hated me that much. By the time he actually got out the door, I was pretty scared. Not that I wanted him to see that. But I totally was.
After all of that, it should have been a relief to be alone and quiet. It really was quiet. I tried to turn that to my advantage. I silenced my phone, closed all the blinds and curtains, turned out all the lights in the front rooms, changed into my favorite sweats (which Martin hated), and sat down to binge watch entertainment news. It sucked that, even with all that lovely quiet and comfort, the house felt strange and creepy.
It really wasn’t any surprise at all when the weird noises started. No matter how reasonable I tried to be, naturally, I heard knocking and scraping sounds at the back door and window. I laughed at myself for being like the victim in a Hitchcock story.
When Martin appeared in the t.v. room doorway, I quit laughing. I tried reasoning with him. Then, I begged. Then, I charged him, hoping I could push past him and get away. I couldn’t tell how many times the gun went off. It was loud and terrifying.
After that, the house was full of people. Cops, mostly. They hauled Martin out in cuffs and good riddance. They arranged for a cleaning crew, too. Our fight had created a bit of a mess. Then, it was quiet again. I got used to the quiet, but I really wanted to leave.
I tried to leave. I did. I thought it would be easy once they came and moved all the furniture out. The sale sign in the front yard should have clinched it. Somehow, I just couldn’t go. I know there’s a family planning to move in here in a few days. I really want to be out of here before they arrive.
I wonder how I can get someone to burn some sage or sprinkle some salt around. I saw a t.v. program once where they did that and that made it so the spirit could move on. That’s all I want. I just want to move on. I really don’t want to be here.