Thursday, September 23, 2010

Ending an Era

Sometimes I think you just can't anticipate how you'll feel about something until it's over, kaput, never gonna come back again.

"I'm sorry, I didn't want to upset you," Raf said on the other end of our conversation.  It had been a 2-way dialogue until I'd choked on my words.  I had, ironically, also been saying the words "I'm sorry."

The beach house is in escrow and, if all goes well, it will close next week and soon it will become another family's getaway and the site of new, happy times.  But for someone else.  Our family's time there is over. 

The beach house was my father-in-law Isaac's playground, the natural extension of his wealth and desire to live a semi-retired lifestyle once he'd "made it."  He had created the other house in Sherman Oaks as his dream home, a place to raise a young family, but Malibu called him back to a fisherman/poet part of his personality.  And so he lived on precarious stilts at the edge of the glittering Pacific, savoring the sun's journey across the sky from Santa Monica to Point Dume through his floor-to-ceiling windows, living out the last of his days with his scruffy dog Alaska, losing the names of his famous neighbors in the translation between his native Hebrew and adopted American English language ("Chuck DuChamp," for instance, turned out to be John Cusack). 

When we got married, he moved back to Malibu from Sherman Oaks and his beach house became the site of every-other-Sunday BBQs, Jewish holidays and family occasions.  After he died and we renovated the house, it became a renewed, modern version of Isaac's legacy and we were all happy to continue to have it in the family as a getaway when it wasn't being rented.  After Max passed away, though, it lost a lot of its sparkle.  It's hard to want to go there now, despite the gorgeous location and the way that Malibu glows when it's sunny. 

I'd wondered how Raf could be so anxious to sell the house immediately after his brother's passing, but his gut reaction was just that.  He couldn't stand to be there, remembering how he'd found his brother, thinking of all the good times we'd had there and how they were now inexplicably, irreversibly gone.  However, now that the end could be merely a few days away and everything is being boxed up and moved out, it's suddenly real and visceral.  I knew I'd be sad, but when Raf admitted his own sadness, I was overcome and unable to speak.

We've said it over and over, but we're now ourselves, Version 2.0.  Without the moorings of the Sherman Oaks house or the Malibu beach house, I don't know that we can still be the "same" as before.  Not that it's bad, it's just different.  I'm just trying to remind myself, over and over, about the Anais Nin quote: And the day came when the risk to remain tight in a bud was more painful than the risk it took to blossom.

I just hope that blossoming will, eventually, be less painful.

1 comment:

  1. So true... its all so different. Who would have ever imagined how different. and yes, also painful. xo