I Call It Dating. You Call It Stalking.

Closure When You Least Expect It

It was our dream house.  3000 square feet, five bedrooms, a giant pool, quiet neighborhood.  The perfect place to raise a family and grow old together.  And in August 2004, it became our dream home.

The home of Adam Avitable, pre-divorce

But things changed.  Life happened.  We grew apart and what seemed like a perfect home was revealed to be cracked and flawed, ready to break into pieces.

Adam Avitable's house, pre-divorce

On January 26th, 2010, my 33rd birthday, I moved out, and for more than a year, Amy remained, alone with our dog, trying to reshape the house that we both loved into something that had no resonance to the past.  In 2011, she moved to Austin, and we put the house on the market, where it sat untouched. Like many homes, ours was under water, which wasn’t a problem when we were going to grow old there, but presented quite an obstacle to our new plan of growing old separately.

After convincing the banks to accept a short sale, a plan that involved not paying the mortgage for three months straight, the house was back on the market. Potential buyers began immediately showing interest, and on December 2nd, 2011, I signed the closing papers, alone in the realtor’s office, feeling a sense of relief colored with grey sadness.

Cut to last week.  Thanks to my little brother accidentally sending a package to the wrong address, I found myself in the unfortunate position of needing to return to the place where everything ended.  With great trepidation (a phrase that I normally consider trite but was, for once, entirely appropriate), I walked up to the door (my old door), completely unprepared and unwilling to face the new occupants.  I rang the doorbell (my old doorbell) and felt my palms sweat against my pants as a shadow grew visible through the beveled glass (my old beveled glass).

A man in his mid twenties opened up the door with a smile on his face.  “Hi,” I said, “I’m Adam Avitable . . . ”

“Mr. Avitable!” He literally beamed.  “You must be here about that package we got.  My wife was about to bring it back to UPS and get them to call you about it because we figured it was important.  Come on in!  Let me introduce you to the family and see what we’ve done!”

I spent the next twenty minutes meeting his wife, their two children (with a third on the way), and her father, while being taken on a tour of their new dream home.  In enthusiastic spurts, the new owner told me about his plans for the house and how ecstatic they were to own their very first home.  I saw my office turned into a bright, polka-dotted room for his oldest daughter, our guest room transformed into a baby’s playroom, and our game room reverted back into the family room it was meant to be.  I saw a family, happy, content, excited – filling my former home with warmth and color and love.

We talked about how nice the neighbors are and he told me that he’d heard about the legendary parties I would throw.  “I told Mr. Merrill, though, that I’m not much of a partier.  Not anymore.”  And with one casual gesture towards his wife and daughters, I knew.  This house was meant for this family.  It may have been my home at one point, but now, it truly and completely belonged to them.

It’s funny, but not in a ha-ha way – more like in a wry “The More You Know” NBC PSA way.  Sometimes we don’t know that we need closure about something until it happens.  But when that happens, it just feels right.  And as I closed the door (their door) to the house (their home) and walked to my car, everything felt right.

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52 Replies to “Closure When You Least Expect It”

  1. Bonnie B.

    I felt that way when my mom moved out of my childhood home – it was heartwarming to see a new family enjoy the house and yard like I did.

    P.S. Dammit, I hate it when you make me cry at 6:30 am!!

  2. Stephanie

    This post is totally timely, as we’re closing on a house this afternoon: young family, first house, three little ones, and we have plans for it that are probably beyond our (at least immediate) means. Every day I wonder about the people who are moving out, and their circumstances, as I strongly suspect they’re having trouble affording the home. I also wonder about who we’ll be once we’re in the house and whether or not we’ll ‘fit’. Hopefully, we will make this one our home, and they can find theirs as well. I’m glad you found closure. I completely understand that feeling. Mine came when my eyes met my ex’s outside the courtroom right before our divorce proceedings. I was never so sure about anything my entire life. Thanks for this. Really.

  3. Wendy [mapsgirl]

    Very cool! I love how life works out the way it supposed to even if we don’t know it yet.

    That package from your brother was sent to the wrong address on purpose. That giant force on our lives (what ever you want to call it) knows what we need.

    I’m glad you go to see it all play out and got the closure you need.

    (Too deep?? Sorry…it’s all I got today)

  4. Katey Guillot

    Why do I feel all mushy?

    And how did this happen right as I was looking at pictures of all the houses we’ve lived in? RIGHT WHEN I WAS TEARING UP OVER DAMN LAKESIDE DRIVE?!

    Closure is a wonderful thing. I hope you’re breathing easier. At least they’re taking care of it. Last house we lived in is now slated for demolition to rebuild a new one. Someone burned it down because they didn’t clean. Not even kidding.

  5. Kirsty

    Great post, Adam.
    I’m about to do something closure-y and definitive too and, whilst it’s currently playing a part in the major fuck-up that is my life in 2012, I know it’ll feel good once it’s done.
    Congratulations to you and your new-found closure!

  6. kapgar

    I know it may not have been easy or in a previously thought to be “ideal” manner of seeing it, but I’m glad you got that closure and I’m glad the new owners were so willing to welconevyounin do you could achieve it.

  7. Sheila

    Even I’m not asshole enough to make fun of you in this comment so instead you get this hug. ::hug::

    Also, not sure if you’re a Friends fan or not but this totally brought to mind the episode where Rachel drunk dials Ross about her “closure”.

  8. Karen Sugarpants

    It might be that I had a roller coaster day at clinical, but that made me tear up. In a good way though, I mean, I’ve been in that home when it was full of cheer (& a little mayhem), and you describe your feelings so well…I guess sometimes I think about you and wonder if you are truly doing as well as you seem to be. That’s what friends do. I’m glad you got the closure you weren’t really expecting. xo

  9. Cambria

    Is that really you?? Seriously, that was very touching. Its like I could feel your pain. I know that my heart would have been beating out of my chest walking up to your (their) front door. I’m happy that you were able to find closure when you least expected it. Just don’t use this as part of your comedy act–that would be a downer!

  10. Clown

    Sooooo, I kind of want to hire some people to show up at the door (their door) while dresssed in horribly kinky outfits and just ask if Adam is home. One of them can even be holding a ball gag and collar set with your name engraved on ’em.

  11. Becky

    Every once in a while you will write something that causes my eyes to burn with unformed tears, and my chest to tighten from the effort of holding it all in. Sometimes you write something so moving and hauntingly beautiful I can almost for a second forget that you’ve splashed your balls all over the internet and kept many therapists in business.
    Truly, was beautiful, and haunting, and moving and touching and yeah, when you’re not trying to be the funniest man in the room, you can be the most humble. xo

  12. Jadzia@Toddlerisms

    Yeah, this made me cry too. We are in the middle of losing our house. (Not to worry–we’ve moved out and quite far away, too.) Frankly I didn’t even really like it that much, and know that I made a rational business decision about the whole matter, and I also know that the next family who has it will probably be able really to make it their home. But it still hurts.

  13. Amanda

    My divorce wasn’t final until a year and a half after it was filed. I went through many stages of ups and downs during that time. The day it was final, I felt true closure. It was sunny outside. I rolled my windows down, and it just felt great to be alive. For the first time in a long time, I felt like the 30% of my life I had spent with a certain person hadn’t been wasted. Closure is such a good thing.

  14. Clayton

    Barenaked Ladies, “This is where I used to live”

    This song doesn’t have anything to do with your sentiment, but your story made me think of this song because its about emotions associated with a past place of residence. I would say there is no closure in this song, but I have some compulsive need to relate everything to a song I’ve heard. 🙂 http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8ggJS0p-QQc

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