I kept telling people that I wasn’t really leaving, that I would just be moving to another house a little further away. No need to say goodbye, we would probably just see each other more often. Truth is I tried to comfort myself. The thought of leaving everybody that I liked and loved so much is unbearable. It just makes you want to stay forever and ever. But I was already packing for over a month. All the clothes, books and toys we weren’t taking had been given away, subscriptions ended and cupboards rearranged. Moving just myself had been so easy. But in the eight years I have spend in this house, three other heartbeats joined me, and now for the first time I have to move a whole family. And it feels as if I’m trying to move a rock.
We are moving to an old mountain house in the French Pyrenees, being inhabitant number 82, 83, 84 and 85 of a small village. It’s all about making fires, walking by the river, playing with our kids and having many empty hours to write, read and work. But what am I actually doing? What am I actually leaving behind? Not only my friends, my family, my safety, my identity. But that of my children as well. Who am I to leave all that behind without knowing what I will get in return?
It’s hard to leave our friends, but now that I am leaving our house behind it starts to feel more and more like a person as well. Someone who has sheltered me, gave me so much safety and comfort. I so intensely love this house, its atmosphere, its small rooms, its unpredictable division. I have always loved it. Every single time I rode my bike into our street and I saw the roses bloom in its front garden, I would feel so happy. We fell in love in this house, both of our children were born here. I cried at its table, I despaired at this table, and I had the best talks and dinners at this table.We ate pears, strawberries and carrots out of the garden and we made snowmen in it. So many hours I’ve spent in every corner of this house in every mood or situation one can imagine. And it has always been so kind to us. And now we will leave it. To be alone. For a much longer time than I’m pretending. I hope it will forgive me. And I hope we will find the same kindness and safety somewhere else in the world.