I am always mindful of how Igor will find me when I am sitting in his waiting room and waiting for him to finish whatever he does before I arrive. My usual waiting activities are: check my lip gloss; check my email; look at his ugly assortment of artwork and wonder what he was thinking; peruse his magazines and tell myself I should read one of his Time Magazines as it will make him think I am smarter but instead I pick up his August 2008 copy of Travel and Leisure that I have flipped through over 20 times. When the time is getting close for my appointment I get in place. I turn my cell phone off. I put my handbag in my right hand and I prepare to jump up on his arrival. I always hope and never manage to hop up before he enters the room. I should give up this goal but each and every session I try and fail to beat him in this one sided game that he always wins.
Last Thursday I did not do any of those things and I feel sure he noticed. When I arrived I took out the book I was reading, “On Moving” by Louise DeSalvo and I was so engrossed that I did none of my usual activities. I even forgot to turn my cell phone off and so a message came in and when Igor came in the room to invite me into his inner sanctum I was on the phone with a book on my lap and my handbag nowhere ready for easy access.
When I was seated on his big leather couch that has deteriorated from holding heavy issues, the weight of denial and decay that comes from being sat on for 30 hours a week, Igor did not ask me how I was or how the traffic was or even why I was not in my usual state of ready in his waiting room but instead he asked me what book I was reading. I told him the title and the subtitle, A Writer’s Meditation on New Houses, Old Haunts, and Finding Home Again, because I wanted him to know that this was not a how-to book on moving.
“Right now I am reading about Freud’s move from Vienna to London.” I told him so he didn’t think it was a book filled with charming antidotes about the moves of Danielle Steele, Dan Brown and James Patterson. The message I was trying to send was, ‘I am smart and deep. And, even Freud suffered because of his move from Vienna to London, i.e. take my suffering seriously.’
“So, are you preparing to move?” Igor asked oozing with hope.
“No.” I said firmly in a moment of momentary sadism. “Why, do you think I should?”
We quickly moved on and went through a dream about my half-brother’s half-brother. No surprise, Igor thought the dream was all about my mother. We did other work but we ended up back talking about home and my mother
“I think you need a house, a large space. A home with space is one of the best defenses against your mother, that and living.”
“Do you have a side business? Are you a realtor? Do you have a home that you think I should see?”
Igor laughed his laugh. It is a laugh filled with an accent from a country I am not even sure exists anymore and with an abandonment that comes from having enormous self-confidence and a genuine joie de vivre.
“No, but I wish I did.” More laughter.
Igor composed himself, “But you do need space”.
“How big?….six bedrooms?” I joked.
“If you can afford it.” He said completely devoid of hyperbole.
“But, we had four bedrooms, two baths, and about 2000 square feet in Chicago and that felt too much. It made the house seem empty and made the absence of a child feel even greater.”
“That,” Igor said with out a hint of irony, “was then and this is now.”
He has said this before. It is not a new theme. Igor and He-weasel both think that my living in such a small condo is not good for me. Igor argues that the nature of my relationship with my mother is not to have my own internal or external space. He-weasel thinks that being in such a small place makes me feel like I am back home in my childhood room. I sometimes feel they are in cahoots on this issue( I love it when I can use the word cahoots. It is one of my favorite ‘c’ words along with cattywampus and chicanery).
Igor has made this argument before with less directness and less effect. Strangely, for reasons totally unclear to me, I decided he was right and that we need to get really serious about looking for a house. Igor, He-weasel and likely even you know that I don’t plan on living in L.A. forever but our lease is up in two months and we are going to have to move again. Wherever we will move will not be forever but just because it won’t be forever doesn’t mean that it can’t be okay for now. Do you like my unbridled enthusiasm about my search for a home in L.A.?
It has been four days since seeing Igor and three and a half days since I finished the book and I am still feeling like he may be right. Perhaps he is wrong about needing six bedrooms but he is right about the space. With DeSalvo’s book in hand I feel like I can survive another move, make sense of the last ones and maybe even get clear of what I really want in our new home instead of going into house hunting unconsciously( I will be writing a lot more about her brilliant book. This may be my favorite book of 2009 and I feel absolutely certain that DeSalvo wrote it just for me. La Francamericaine who told me about my favorite book of 2008 told me about this book and she too is quite convinced it was written just for her. I assure you, I will be writing about DeSalvo and her fantastic book and how it has moved me and what it has unearthed in me).
51 days until our lease is up and I am only slightly panicking. I would feel better if Igor was my realtor. I could look at houses while I lie on his couch. We could figure out what my resistance to houses with wood paneling is really about.