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  • Writer's pictureKim Catron

Did I order that?

Let me set the scene.

Last month.

Home for the weekend to close up my family home before the closing.Before it is no longer my family home...ever again.

My back goes out the last day I'm there (like really out, can't stand up straight, can barely move...all because I bent over to clean the door of the fridge).

I'm in the only remaining piece of furniture in my parents' house...their bed...all alone staring at the ceiling taking as much Motrin as allowed.

I decide to try to keep the coffee date I had with a friend.

He walks me to his car and helps me in like I'm a 90 year old woman, shuffling my feet.

We get into Dunkin Donuts.

I've been looking forward to a hot Pumpkin Spice decaf. It's October. Pumpkin Spice is officially allowed. I've been looking forward to a hot decaf. For some reason Wisconsin can only manage to serve tepid decaf.

I order.

They present me with a medium iced coffee. An iced coffee.

Me: "Did I order an iced coffee?"

The two teenage workers and my friend: "Yes."

I start crying. Literally, I break down into tears, right there in Dunkin Donuts.

Me: "But I wanted a hot coffee."

Through my tears I try to get my friend to explain me to them, these teenage girls who don't know what they are witnessing other than a middle- aged woman, bent over, (because now I am laying over the counter with my arms outstretched because I can't stand) having a mental breakdown. I want him to tell them that my parents moved. That I will never set foot in my childhood home again or sleep under its roof. That my memories are now only that forever, just memories with no concrete connection. I won't ever walk down the hall where the infamous game of "Ball in the Hall" was played constantly.

But he can't say anything because he is laughing at me.

Me: "I'm sorry. My parents moved. I'm cleaning out my family home. I'll never be there again. My back went out cleaning the fridge."

Me: "I'm sorry for crying. The ice coffee is fine. I'll just drink this."

The girls were great, or scared...maybe both. I had a hot decaf Pumpkin Spice (free of charge) in less than ten seconds and their sympathy.

My back lasts twenty minutes and then I'm there in my parents' bed...alone, crying and hating the fact that this is how I will leave this place, that I love so much, that means so much to me. My life is there.

I manage the airport the next day, slowly, allowing people to pass me on all sides trying to get through security. I explain my situation my my partner who is required to walk with me, and stay in step with me, as we have to walk by the drug sniffing dogs. He's kind.

Me: "Sorry. I can't walk fast. My back went out cleaning the fridge at my parents' house. My family home, which is no longer my family home."

The stewardess was kind and found me an ice pack.

It was not the good-bye I had hoped to give the house or the neighborhood, but to think about it now is funny and brings a smile to my face.

The house I grew up in did that, too.

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