This past Saturday when I came home from the shop, I walked into an empty, silent house. My landlords, a very sweet couple with two kids and a small dog, were gone.
No, they did not abscond like fugitives. They are moving to Illinois. Their absence was expected.
Still, despite the fact that I knew they would be leaving that day, walking into the house that evening and having them gone was somewhat discomfiting. I’ve been living here a while and have gotten used to the rhythms and habits of the family.
Always before, whenever anyone walked into the house, their little dog, Gizmo, would explode into a fury of barking and rush to meet you. Close on his heels would be the eldest child, three-year-old Ayden, curious to see who was arriving.
This past Saturday, there was nothing. No one met me at the door. Almost everything was gone. The house was dark and still, the light seeping through the window shades did not seem to want to penetrate. I walked into the kitchen and my footsteps echoed, queerly, in the emptiness.
Standing in the kitchen, I realized how used to my landlords’ family I had become. Their absence left me feeling off-kilter and a bit lonely.
It’s been a couple of days now and I’m still not used to the silence of the house. My rhythms are disrupted. I keep waiting for familiar sounds: the muted grind of the garage doors lifting, the choking coughs that accompany Dan’s morning ablutions, the rumble of the shower on the other side of my bedroom wall, little Adli’s high-pitched keens for attention, Ayden’s daredevil whoops as he leaps from sofa to floor, the muted sound of Big Bang Theory episodes being watched endlessly downstairs, Melissa’s patient voice calling Ayden back from the edge of overexuberance.
That’s all gone now. There’s just silence. The soft rumble of the air conditioner. The hum of the cable box.
I miss the noise, and, more importantly, the people who made it.