The House

The House

By Veronica Orozco @verozco

Translated by Juliana Achury (Craftisan Translations LLC) juliana.achury@gmail.com

(Background music: “For No One” – The Beatles)

Learning how to walk comes with the unavoidable consequence of bumping into everything. Painful bruises. Sometimes small, sometimes not so much. And when you add crying to the blow there is always an adult nearby that has the task to punish the cause of your pain. “Bad table! Don’t you hurt the girl!,” they say while spanking the corner of the innocent table while your eyes shine staring at the scene, the kind of glance you get when vengeance has taken place.

After spending our childhood believing in the diabolical thoughts of things that seemed like they wanted to hurt us, adulthood dehumanizes them and makes us understand that objects do not have nervous endings, nor do they get together to plan how to kill us. We understand that things are things and DO NOT HAVE FEELINGS. That’s the key part: they don’t feel.

So, why now, when saying goodbye to the house I built and shared for years with whom I thought was going to be my companion for the rest of my life do I feel like the house, like myself, is dying of sadness? Why do I feel that the walls look at me with outrage but also with some empathy? Why do I see doors and windows crying?

There are things that happen to others but not to you. There are people that seem to be in a perfect marriage, but then you found out that it was perfect just on the outside. But that wouldn’t happen to you. There are also couples that wed agreeing on kids and after a while one party breaks the deal and they separate. But those people are not in their rights minds, and obviously, that’s not my case.

It is terrifyingly enough to become the leading role in a tragedy that might seem likely to happen to M and P, but not to us, because those things happen to other people. Not to us. It is devastating to open one’s eyes one morning – inside of the house that you bought on the blueprint and witnessed being born, a house that has seen you sleep for over three years – and understand that it’s all over. Stare at half of an empty closet, the space left on the book shelves from what was some Legos and Star Wars ships and now has just books. It makes it harder to breath and makes you tear up.

This wasn’t supposed to happen to us. We had to live in 602 Forte Zúñiga until we could buy a bigger house; we kept throwing private parties of tequila and Kiss in hotels, we travel to different places on each one of our vacations; no one has a better time together than we do.

So, how is it that the perfect couple, the one that was best friends before dating and stood up to everyone who fought them when they decided to be together is now thinking about divorce? It doesn’t make sense. The recent marriage of L and L will end sooner than ours.

But, that’s not the case. Right now we are “the other people.” We are P and V, the cutest couple on Facebook, one that wasn’t that cute after all. We are the ones that have to say over and over again that we do not hate each other, that, on the contrary, we love each other so much that we had to let go of one another so we can each find what we aspire for and what makes us happy. We are the ones not living in the house we bought after just six months of dating because we also have to let this house go.

So today, when I say goodbye to the house we opened up together, to the house he left on December 1st –leaving his keys, with the storm trooper key holder, attached to the magnet in the hallway – I understand that we always were the people “to whom these type of things happen.” I see that the theory of “best friends before dating ensures an everlasting marriage” is not true for everyone; we are the example. We didn’t make it. And it is because of our great friendship and great love that we decided to spend our first December apart letting the other look for happiness. The happiness we weren’t giving to each other anymore.

I think, while I lie on the empty floor of what was our living room that this is how it was supposed to be. That our life together was temporary. That not even the blessing of the Peruvian priest on the altar of a chapel in Llanogrande – with Top Gun music on in the background plus 300 bottle rockets – wasn’t enough of a lucky charm to prevent us from taking different paths.

I am remembering, crying and standing in our white kitchen – now empty – the last Friday before he left this place. I remember being seated in a couch that is not here anymore, hugging, crying, and thanking each other. Asking for forgiveness. Forgiving.

And it was there, in the house. Our house. The house I’m leaving now as he already did, because I also need to leave this behind me. The prettiest five years of my life, the three most important years of my almost 33 years of age, living in the house we built together, in every way. A house that collects my tears for the last time. A house that is crying with me. Hugging me. Telling me that we will always be in here, in those white walls and woods staircases. A house that is us, the people who arrived wanting to spend the rest of our life together inside of the walls of what was a recently created home. Not us, the ones that are leaving spending the rest of our lives separated.

So I relive my childhood, when I was four, walking on my mom’s heels, tripping on a carpet, splitting my lip and crying uncontrollably. I feel hurt, sad, bruised, ashamed and very pissed. It seems that the house is the one hurting me right now. I cry relentlessly on top of a non-existent couple’s bedroom wood floor, and I say while I punch the wall, “Bad house! Don’t make the girl cry.”

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