You guys, I’ve been really sad.
You see, my childhood best friend is moving away.
Here’s the thing – we actually moved away from our small Indiana hometown a long time ago. We both left for college at 18. And other than a couple of very short stints during adulthood, we’ve lived elsewhere. I’ve been in southern Indiana, New Jersey, New York and now Los Angeles. She’s been in Tennessee, Georgia, Colorado, Montana, northern California and now Washington.
But we lived on the same street – Grant Street – growing up. My parents have lived in the same house for almost 40 years. And her parents have lived in the same house for almost 40 years.
Until now, that is.
My childhood best friend’s parents just sold their house and are moving to Washington in a month.
I feel like I’m 12, and that I’ve just been delivered very bad news. As a kid, the only thing worse than being told that your family is moving is being told that your best friend is moving away forever. That was like my worst nightmare.
And now it’s finally coming true!
I know I’m being ridiculous. Neither of us has lived in our hometown for ages. We only see each other once every two years for a couple of hours at Christmas. In fact, I’ve probably visited her more in her other homes throughout the years than I have at her parents’ home.
But still…a chapter is closing. For good.
I spent as much time in her house as I spent in my own. My family lived in a small, newer construction home. Her family lived in a big old Victorian home with a creepy basement and an equally creepy attic with a big yard and a spare bedroom. We could go a whole day without seeing anyone else there. We made haunted houses in her bedroom and tried contacting spirits with her Ouija board – which seemed totally possible in her house. It was spooky and fun and it felt like home.
It’s weird to think I’ll never set foot in that house again.
As an adult, I’ve lived in so many different apartments and houses that I’ve lost track. I don’t miss most of them in any kind of profound way. And even though I lived in the same house my entire childhood, if my parents were to move I don’t think I’d be very upset. But for some reason, my best friend’s parents moving out of their house has stirred a deep part of myself.
Perhaps it’s because it was my escape. I always looked forward to going there, whether we were spending an afternoon in the backyard pretending like we were leading a travel adventure show through the wild or staying up until midnight on a sleepover and chanting into the bathroom mirror in the dark, “I hate you Bloody Mary.” It was a place of magic and friendship. It was a place of daydreams and HBO (which my family never had). And now it will only live in my memories. Although, in all honesty, it has only been a memory for many years.
I’ve written about the importance of place before, and her house inspired the house in my first novel, Inside Chance. The place itself is a character, a living, breathing part of the world that influences in no small measure who we become.
Part of what has made me into the person I am today is that house in which I spent so much time growing up. And I’m going to miss it.