tapes delayed

Urgency Day 200

500 Things Item 285: Harry Potter 5 Tapes

  • History: Tapes, yes tapes, of our most beloved series
  • Value: Countless hours of pleasure, but tapes deteriorate…
  • Parting Pain: …And these particular tapes are haunted
  • Un possessing: Free-cycle

Proust had the smell of madeleines;  I have the sound of Jim Dale’s voice.

It’s apparent by the Urgency number: Today is a milestone. We have 200 days left of this version of Life with the Self-Contained Unit.

It is conventional wisdom isn’t it, that once you go off to college, home is never quite the same. Where is Home? Is it the place your parents live, where you slept and ate, played and dreamed, loved and cried until you left one wrenching August day? Or is it the place you went to? The new place where you slept and ate, played and dreamed, loved and cried and maybe studied a little, with hundreds of other scared kids some of whom became your new tribe, your new family, in your new home.

Two hundred days.

That’s the apparent milestone. Another one arrived this morning as well. After 455 days, we took our lives off pause.

This morning, Paul went out the door to a job. It happens every day in other houses– though not nearly enough houses—but it hadn’t happened in our house for 455 days. Four hundred fifty-five days ago, Paul came home from work early; came into our kitchen while I was having lunch, doing some paper work and listening to the soundtrack of our lives, the Harry Potter books-on-tape. It was Order of the Phoenix, not my favorite, and still near the beginning of the story. Hearing the garage door open so early, I knew something was wrong. Sickness leapt to mind first, but somehow I knew: No, not sickness. I pressed the pause button on the tape player.

Our lives have been on pause for almost 15 months. Of course, even in unemployment, Life goes on. We slept, ate, played, dreamed, loved and cried, more and less, but blessedly– though for not nearly enough people– still in the same house.

And it was in this same house, the same kitchen, where this morning I recreated the beginning of the pause so that I could literally experience taking our Life off of pause. After Paul drove off, after the garage door shut and the house was very quiet, I replaced the tape, left exactly where I had paused it 15 months ago, and let Jim Dale complete his sentence:

“The scrupulously clean kitchen had an oddly unreal glitter after the darkness outside.”

Sometimes, closure is real.


9 Responses to “Pause”

  1. boysgonewild Says:

    Did you pack him a lunch?

  2. sthibeault Says:

    He made it himself. What a guy.

  3. Donna Says:

    This scene sooo appeals to me. Closure/new beginnings of a most cinematic kind. I can picture it perfectly. You are definitely a sister after my own heart.

  4. Donna Says:

    I just realized something else: Order of the PHOENIX — how perfect for what you have endured.

  5. melanie Says:

    OMG. Beautiful. Your definition of “home,” of life on pause, on how to press the play button again. Another beautifully touching and poetic prose written. I’m so excited for the family for this new chapter.

  6. sthibeault Says:

    Thanks again, Melanie. The footnote to this whole experience is my gratitude, in all its insufficient, inexact, heartfelt bounty. Thank you.

  7. Sydney Says:

    This was absolutely gorgeous. It reads like a poignant story that ends with a sigh of sweet relief.

  8. Sydney Says:

    I am so Facebook trained– I want to click the “like” button after Donna and Melanie’s comments.

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