I have this clock. (Well, I nicked this clock from a pile of my mom's stuff when I moved into my grandma's house two years ago.) It's about a foot wide, faded green, with spindly black roman numerals lining up around its face.
Even though this clock hasn't been functional for probably five years, I glance at it instinctively, sneak a peek over my shoulder, look to it to tell me the time. Those warped, slender black arms point resolutely to 7:33, but the clock observes more than that. Today, gazing back at me from a heap of disparate artifacts (having recently been remove from its perch on the dresser), it cries out with a sharp swishing ticktick,ticktick,ticktick--getout,getout,getout.
I look around my little room: piles of my most prized possessions crowd the cold cement floor; the fainting couch I looted from my dad's disintegrating house is crammed between the enormous desk I never liked and the bookshelf that's too small; my clothes spill out of a plastic tub stashed away in the closet; my gorgeous golden mirror is half-obscured by cheap white curtains.
Everywhere I turn in this room, this house that I've tried to claim as my own, there is a token of someone else, the indication of an unfamiliar life. Tucked away in every inch of this place, like scads of dirty secrets, are reasons that I cannot stay. The longer I try to cram myself into this environment, the more reasons I uncover, and the harder it is to come home.
It absolutely is time to go. These nine months have been abrasive, the walls of the house and the proximity to these people filing away at my composure, shearing off great scales of my carefully established serenity. In its place, my anxiety has returned with a vengeance; I feel the melancholy creeping in through the cracked weather stripping, its dreadful tendrils grasping for my feet, longing to bind me to its emptiness.
I don't want to answer to that again.
So off I go in search of a basement apartment or a condo or any other place where I can leave my mark.
Moving won't magically make everything better, but it will give me the chance to breathe without apology and without begging for permission or acceptance. I've established now that I can live on my own, that I can feed myself well physically, spiritually, and socially. Now that much closer to discovering my taste in music, men, clothes, and adventure, it's time I find the space to let these things develop and take shape, to allow myself to take shape.
As soon as time allows, I intend to tuck that clock under my arm and set out on the unmarked path that blazes before me, in search of a room that will give us both new voice.