I apologize for the hiatus. Summer of 2017 forced me out of comfortability, and I spent the warmest months of the year saying goodbyes and accepting change. I returned home from Lexington on May 3, the day before my nineteenth birthday, and moved back on campus on August 18, leaving me with just short of four glorious months in Toledo, Ohio.
Before I returned home for the summer during the grueling end of semester weeks I applied for a job at Ulta Beauty, one of my favorite stores and home to “all things beauty all in one place!” I was happy to secure an interview and be offered a position there within the first few days of being back home. I dressed in all black and dipped into a different eyeshadow palette every day before work, growing my skills and learning more about the products I saw online with every shift. I sat on Youtube for years watching meticulously beautiful girls apply foundation and concealer effortlessly, and I now got to spend hours talking about these same products to customers as well as trying them out for myself. I came home with samples and expanded my collection - a little too much because of the employee discount. The girls I had been buying makeup from for years became some of my closest friends of the summer and got added to the list of goodbyes that would have to be made mid-August.
By June, it was decided that my mother was to be married on the Fourth of July. Wedding planning and summer activities swept us up to the big day, and I stood next to her on a beach in Michigan in my senior prom dress as she lost the last name we had always shared. Mr. and Mrs. Harmon travelled up to northern Michigan for a honeymoon, and my sister and I continued living in our Toledo home together which quickly became the living arrangements for the rest of the summer. Soon, the house I had lived in my entire life was put on the market and clothes and furniture were slowly getting moved up to Maybee, Michigan everyday, a city about forty-five minutes north and the location of my mother’s new husband’s house.
My dog was given to my grandmother and families of strangers were rotating through my house daily. My sister and I were given hours we had to be away from our house for the showings, and personal touches were taken down to accommodate for strangers’ idealization of their potential lives in my house. I accidentally came home one day to see a family on my front porch talking to a realtor and had to leave because I wasn’t supposed to be there, the place I used to get scolded for not being back to by curfew. It is an awful feeling seeing something that has defined your life be considered as a setting for someone else’s.
In mid-July I flew to Dallas to spend a weekend with my friends from college on Cedar Creek Lake. Sam, Cathryn and Courtney picked me up from the airport and we spent three days in the water, on jet skis and baking in the lake house kitchen. It was exactly what I needed and one of my favorite summer memories. Sam has sadly transferred back to Texas, and we miss her dearly!
A few weeks after returning home I was sitting on my grandmother's living room couch when my mother texted our family group chat to tell us she had accepted an offer on our house. I was to chose a room at her husband’s house and pack up everything into two piles: take to college and take to Maybee. Now I know that moving is a part of life and it happens to everybody but it is extremely difficult to leave the only place you have ever known for good, and I do not discredit anyone who has gone through this. My little sister was brought home from the hospital to meet me there, I learned to swim there after we had a pool installed in the backyard, I drove my Barbie Jeep around the backyard with the neighbor girls for the better half of my childhood, I waited for college acceptance letters on that front porch against the railing that my dad put up when I was little so I wouldn’t fall off, I parked my first car in that driveway, my family of four lived there together before my parents were divorced. My mother grew up in that house and her father built half of it himself when she was a little girl. A lifetime of memories.
I worked my last shift at Ulta, drove around the city of Toledo like a crazy person with an endless list of errands to complete before moving back to Kentucky and cried in the car to any and all emotional songs during my last week at home. My boy and my best friend came over the night before I left just like last year and we replayed the heart-wrenching goodbye all over again. Goodbyes don’t get easier, let me tell you. I woke up the next morning and held it together until I saw my cat who will most likely be finding a new home as well. She was born in my house on my sister’s bed years ago, and I thought about her living somewhere new and strange. Of course that’s what made me lose it.
The growth chart on the doorframe in my kitchen that displays my height increases scratched in Sharpie and the door to my bedroom with every name tag I have ever received stuck to it will be painted over, and my house can no longer be called my house. However, I am now living in an apartment-style dorm with a private bedroom and views of downtown Lexington with one of my best friends. We have awesome roommates, our cars on campus, manageable class schedules and have become gym partners. I am, as some may say, “thriving.” But Fir Lane in Toledo, Ohio will always be home.