I have two dear friends, a forty-something couple who have recently traded in life in the crazy metro for the coastal quiet of my hometown in the sunny south. The Giant (TG) and Inday have been preparing for their early retirement for years. TG I surmise, has had it with facing the daily grind of smog, traffic, and the travails of breathing news for years on end. For Inday on the other hand, the return to her childhood haunts can only be as bittersweet as any reunion with the past.
In December of last year they packed up their lives, sold most of their city furniture, had a garage sale, closed up shop, and moved to a house under the trees, with a warm, sandy beach just a stroll away. I can only imagine the buzz created among the sleepy-eyed barrio folk when the container vans started arriving on that little dirt road to the Peacepond.
I visited them over the holidays and saw how much the old house had been transformed. That house hums with the memories of so many people in our loosely-woven group of friends, so much so that to me, it is not just TG and Inday’s house but in some ways, many of us friends and passers-thru in their lives have laid claim to it in our memories.
I have spent runaway weekends there with an old boyfriend. I have nursed friends over killer rum hangovers while we made up excuses to stay a few more days. I have gone there even after the event of losing someone made visiting the place unbearable—look out the window and the impossible orange orb of the sunset hits you hard. I was there when they had that telescope turned to the rising moon, how its pockmarked face fascinated us no end. I have visited there with heart clasped in hand, trying to be brave but inwardly looking for a safe place to bare my troubles. I have been there happy, young, and carefree enough about my body to swim naked in the moonlight, my arms covered in shimmering, phosphorescent diatoms.
Inday tells me she has some fears about their big move. Now she and The Giant will be living a life devoted solely to just the two of them. In a small town in the middle of nowhere, no kid, no city noise to fill the silence. It’s like starting over, but with all that history built up between you. Both of them need to adjust to being in each other’s space all the time.
I see it as a great adventure—to be able to so deliberately choose how you would like to live your life. And to have someone who makes you happy right there with you, that in itself is worth coming home to.