Monday, February 13, 2012

Noises In The Night

The clock on my phone read 4:37 in blazing red color. I felt somewhat disoriented as I set the phone back down. Was I hearing things? Clare had mentioned before they left that they hadn't had a chance to repair the door sensor downstairs for the alarm system. I laid there and strained my ears to see if the noise would repeat itself. Nothing.

I rolled back over and fluffed the pillow, stiff firm in its relatively unused condition. It felt much different from the ones I have in my own little home...not necessarily in a better way, just different. As I continued to lay there, I was drawn to other unfamiliar noises. The vibration in the window that sounded like a jet engine. Perhaps a little exaggeration, but at 4:58 in the morning everything sounds louder. Suddenly, the furnace kicked on and the walls and floors started their symphony of creaks and cracks. And then without warning, they would just as suddenly stop as if the conductor slashed is baton quickly to end the piece.

It's been a long time since I've spent a night in a large house alone. Even when I occasionally house sit for my friend Paul, the dogs and birds are downstairs and my senses are tuned in to expect noises in the night. But here, it is different. No dogs. No birds. No...anyone, just me.

As I move closer to entering the next season of my life, I recognize more and more how much my life has changed in the past eight years. Some of my senses are much keener than they used to be, especially my hearing. Perhaps it's the three years in a prison unit with several hundred other men and the self-preservation awareneness of unusual sounds or movements that you hone as a survival mechanism. Or maybe it's simply that I've lived without a partner for those same eight years and the comfort of knowing there was someone there with me in the night making noise and moving in the house softened the awareness for twenty years.

Soon, I may be in a new place to live. Not a new trailer park where I can park the 36 foot fifth wheel trailer I've called home for the last four years. No, it would be a real home. A house that makes strange noises in the night. A place with smells and sounds that are unfamiliar. Views that are breathtaking both at night (with the lights of the houses across the bay shimmering like Christmas lights on the glass-like water as I see this morning) or during the day when the seals and sea otters come and play off the end of the dock.

My brother Frank and his wife Clare have offered to let me live in their old beach house as they work on their new home and wait to get a new dock built to move their boat over. The stay would be perhaps only a year or so...enough time to get used to life in a house that doesn't move. Enough time to get used to a living space greater than three digits. Enough time to forget some of these past eight years. Enough time to continue to heal and grow.

6:28 AM. The sound of the refrigerator going through its cycle. Faint creaking in the walls behind me. The sound of air pushing the warmth from the furnace through the heating ducts The light tapping from the keyboard in my iPad as I finish this post. Sounds that I can get used to.