The Only Thing Constant is Change — Chapter 1

IMGP4598I am in my office again. I just finished a pretty hard week at work. I was covering at least two desks, and three for a little while, which meant I had to constantly stay focused on the work. This is not normally necessary. There are definitely ebbs and flows of work and this was a particularly heavy ebb.

I have decided to sit in my office to write. I was going to sit outside but I am finding that I have had too much sun lately. This is always a good sign because it means that it has been hot and sunny enough for me to get tired of it. So, I’m sitting inside even though it is hot and mainly sunny outside.

The disappearance of my parents was not the only change during this time, or any time since for that matter. If someone were trying to assess your level of stress they would be interested in how many significant life events you had experienced lately. These would include things like: death of an immediate family member, change in home address, change of jobs, graduating from school, marriage, separation, divorce, birth of a child, a child becoming an adult and moving out of your home…that sort of thing. Since this first move I’ve averaged one of those every six months. But, I’m getting ahead of myself.

I only ended up staying on Oak Street until my 15th birthday. Actually the day of my birthday. For the final time, my mother was telling my father that she was going to leave him. This had happened before. This time my sister had said that she was staying with my father. I think there was a sort of recognition that my mother had left and returned before and Vicki thought that she would just stay put this time. Perhaps Vicki just recognized that my mother was unsuccessful in managing the last time she left and Vicki was curious whether or not my father had experienced a similar difficulty.

I was not saying whom I was going with. I knew that making my choice known and then having to live with the other parent would be potentially very uncomfortable, so I reasoned that when my mother actually said what day she was leaving, I would just go. I did not know when she was moving out, but I was pretty sure that she was not going to go on my birthday. I was wrong.

I came home from school that day and she was in the middle of the move. Significant disregard for the feelings of others is a sign of narcissism, but I didn’t know this yet. In this instance she was deciding that instead of acknowledging that it was my birthday, she would make the day about her. Anyhow, my boyfriend at the time, who was three years my senior and had his own car, helped me pack up my stuff and move into my mother’s place.

She had not considered that I was going with her. Maybe that is why she chose to leave on my birthday. Things like holidays punctuate our lives. She knew that I would want her around on a significant event, so she was removing herself from my life when I would most feel it. The facts are, I came home from school and I needed to move out if I was going with my mother, so I did.

The apartment that she got had been carved out of an old house. It was composed of the basement, the majority of the main floor and none of the upstairs. So there were people that lived right next to us and above us. One day someone was either really drunk or fighting or both and came crashing through a door that went right into my mother’s bedroom. In the original house, her bedroom would have been the living room, at the front of the house, and was right beside the main front door. Other than that, I did not notice that we had neighbours.

I made my bedroom in the basement. Since the walls were concrete I took my mother’s good draperies from the last house and hung them in a way that created a small room for my bed and my things. It seems odd now that she would take the curtains with her. They were sized for the house that she had left and unlikely to fit any type of window, with the exception of one identical to the one that they were made for.

I recognize here that I can try to explain why I think that she took them but what would I gain? I would be telling myself a story in an attempt to explain what happened. I could cast my mother as a villain and say she took them out of spite so that my father could not sit comfortably in his living room until he replaced them.

Or, I could make her seem thrifty and say that I think that she was going to alter them to fit another window and that she had that skill and inclination. I could argue that she may have had help to move and the movers had assumed that everything was going, including the window treatments, but I don’t know. I just know that they were in her apartment. I know because I found them in the new place and used them as walls.

This is the first time that I recognize eating to calm myself down. My boyfriend and I spent a week or so at this point eating fresh strawberry jam on toast with butter. I remember knowing that I was eating too much but needing to relax so desperately and not knowing how to accomplish that. I also pierced the upper holes in my ears by myself. I guess I am not the first person to discover the satisfaction of making an alteration to your appearance as a way of marking a change in your life.

Keep Reading: Oak Street

Read the entire book, now available
Read the entire book, now available

Read what I’ve learned about Narcissism by living with them.

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