“Here I brought you something.” Said Eva, as she handed me a Jar of Homemade bath salts. I opened the jar of white salts and was hit by the refreshing scent of lavender. She walked past me as she said “I’ll put it in your bathroom”. The scent followed her up the stairs and around the corner. For two months the jar full of salts sat in my bathroom, releasing its fragrance, but after a while it faded and only held on to the moisture that it collected throughout the time.
While cleaning the bathroom I saw it, and noticed there was a word written with a black sharpie.
I turned it around and saw, Freedom.
Eva, had given me a jar of Freedom.
Still the notion to be free seemed slightly odd. I could do anything. I could sing, dance, watch movies, wear perfume, have my friends over, and sleep without angst. Freedom had replaced my long lasting companion, trepidation. But on May first, freedom didn’t seem to be so different. I was awake early that morning. I watched as the dark blue slowly turned into varying shades of pastels. The orange light of the morning sun clashed against the grey haze that lingered in the woods. Purples and pinks fled through the sky, as I sat up and looked at my bare bed. My vintage nineties backpack, sat on the floor full of my most important items: my cameras, my Moleskin, a pen, my current five books, my passport, and my glasses. It was always packed, always ready to flee.
I quietly walked down to the bathroom and took my final shower. Surrounded by the heavy warm mist of the water, I recalled the first moment I stood there, pregnant, with a blanket as a door, and no curtain to restrain the water falling from the handheld shower head. This house never felt like a home, never felt like my home. It had always been his. It had remained in a perpetual state of improvement. In every corner you would find tools, nails, screws, and rulers. With wet hair, I continued my silent journey down to the kitchen. The kids were already up and watching tv among the boxes, as I mentally checked last times.
Last time on the couch
Last time walking through the dark corridor
Last time making coffee in fear of him waking
Last time looking at the stains he has left on the wall,
Last time replaying those moments. Him throwing wine glasses, plates full of food, coffee mugs against the walls. crash. Spill. Tears.
As I sipped at my foamy coffee au lait, I could hear the water rushing through the pipes behind the wall. He was up.
I took a deep breath and sighed.
I needed to ask for something I despised asking for, money. I knew it would be unpleasant, and I prepared for the words that were coming, as my stomach began to fill more with dread. The movers would be here soon.
The water stopped.
I could hear his footsteps, as he placed his weight on the creaky wooden steps, one after another. His voice cleared as he entered the kitchen.
“So you expect me to pay you for the movers, and the deposit on the house?”
“Yes, you had offered to pay for movers.”
“Well I can”t. I dont have the money.”
“You shook the man's hand. You can't just not pay him.”
The dance had begun. The sway of manipulation and taunting followed by belittling and
demeaning me. I, the one who used to have servants and chofers. I, the one who went to a
private school, I, the one who didn’t work, expected him to pay me. Why did I deserve his hard
earned money? What made me so special?
“I have to go.” I finally said. “ I need to clean the house.” I had already informed the movers on what needed to be taken, and the kids were better off staying with their father than in an empty house.
“Once you leave you can never come back in here. I am changing the locks today, so don't even try.” He said as I walked out the door.
I wouldn’t. The village was tainted. There were trails of horrid memories wherever I turned; Fights at the playground, name calling through the streets, drunken quarrels near the Hirschgasse. I walked towards my car and silently said goodbye to the unrest. I would be leaving it here, tied to the rubble of the renovation still sitting in the old barn of the house. I, now was the gutted house ready to be rebuilt.
As I approached my new town, the sun appeared from behind the clouds, like any cheesy ending on the silver screen. I chuckled to how cliche it seemed, but was comforted by the warmth and the light. The fear subsided as I opened the door to my new home. The walls were white, bare of history. And it was mine, at last.