Over the weekend I did one last walk through to see if I'd left anything behind. We had cleared out of the house completely back in July to make way for the blind man, and the place had been left vacant since. It had an odd feel. The air was cold and a bit stale, the weeds I'd fought for five years were taking their revenge unencumbered, and the pool was teeming with life. The only thing I had left behind were a few kegs in the garage that I'd used for winemaking and a couple of cases of "port" I had made in 2009 for Liam. The port was so I might have a homemade wine from Liam's birth year that I could share with him when he turns 21. Unfortunately, a few months earlier someone took a brick to the back window of the garage and relieved me of my son's birth right. Cheers to them.
Having spent the first years of my sons' lives in that house, the place is full of memories that I found tugging at my heartstrings. Jodee was helping me move the kegs and could see the telltale signs. "Don't get sad," she said. I'm not, I'm just doing algebra in my head while I hold my breath.
"I'm fine," I lied. I kept it together well enough and was just closing up the garage door when I found an old toy. It was dusty and cob-webbed and sitting among the broken glass left from the bastards who stole my son's hooch. It was a little squeeze toy giraffe. You know the one, they're ubiquitous at baby showers. It was Liam's first toy. I gave it a squeeze and burst into tears.
The extremely macho act of lifting two full 15-gallon kegs into the back of a pickup truck all by myself wasn't quite enough to restore the masculinity lost after bawling over a dirty Vulli Sophie teether. I figured a hasty exit was the best idea. I hopped in the truck, tucked the giraffe in the center console, and got some distance between me and that house as quick as I could. It's a beautiful house, but I'm glad someone else is going to call it home now. I felt the weight lift as I drove away for the last time.
Next Up: "In With the New House"