|"Ladle Breeding Ground" photo by SkeenaValleyGirl, used w/attribution, cc license
Another anniversary has come and gone, to little fanfare.
Not my wedding anniversary (though our 24th is coming up in a few days), but the anniversary of moving back home. One year ago, at the start of August 2011, we moved home after being displaced by a fire the previous December.
A year later, and there's nothing to overtly remind you that for almost 10 months, this place was either a derelict, burned out hulk or a crazy construction zone. Nothing to remind you that much of what we once owned either burned outright or had to be discarded because of smoke damage.
Visitors may remark on the wall colors--which are quite a bit different from before the fire, but we managed to recreate most of what had been here, including ordering essentially the same furniture. (What can I say--I'm a creature of habit.)
What I still get tripped up by is this weird sort of double vision. Let's say, I need a big soup ladle. In my mind's eye, I know exactly where it is. In the basement, on the storage shelves. Then I trudge down the stairs to the place the ladle is supposed to be and I realize that not only isn't it there, but the shelf that it used to be on is gone, as is the wall the shelf used to stand next to.Where we used to have a small laundry room behind that missing wall, we now have an open, brighter space. It's lovely (as far as one can say a basement is lovely), but it's subtly wrong to my memories.
I can understand the concept of alternate/parallel realities on a visceral level now.
It's not like I'm fixated on the fire--I've gotten to a point where I no longer flinch when I smell smoke or hear fire engines--but it's certainly part of my history now. What I do think/hope is that each anniversary will soften the memories and blur the fear of coming closer than I ever want to again to losing my family. Certainly, I am not the same person I was on November 30, 2010.
But then again, why would I expect to be? Everything we live through changes us; the difficult and the joyous.
So tonight after supper, I will share fresh peaches over vanilla ice cream with my husband and my teenagers. We will watch something silly on TV and laugh together in our 'new' living room that looks almost no different than our old one. And all will be right in my little world.
Just don't ask me to find the big soup ladle, okay?