The intervening months were empty of animals and full of the business of preparing for a sale. I stopped driving that road because of how empty it felt without the animals. What if it was Mr. Needles disapproving of selling? I couldn't bear knowing so I avoided the question and the road.
I was under enormous pressure. My kids were under enormous pressure and I couldn't see any let up till way late in fall.
Yesterday, sitting at work, doing the easy invoices, it came to me, that I didn't have to sign and I didn't have to accept anything if I did not want to. The ball would go back into their court and they could do what they would. As much as my realtor was pushing to close the sale, as much as the vendors were working to close it, there was nothing on the planet that said I had to accept, nay even put up with any of it. Everybody was pushing, pushing, pushing.
The thought that I had a choice to sign or not to sign, that the choice was always mine. It seems so simple that really, how could a relatively bright person not know this? Months of long slow pressure made me listen to everybody else and it didn't matter what I did, I wasn't doing it right, or fast enough, or good enough.
The very worst thing would be that the deal would fall through and I might have to put my wee housie up for sale. I would lose the dream of this place and what that meant to me for a while longer and I would move back in with my kids and get to see my sweet things everyday.
For someone in my shoes, particularly on this weekend of all the weekends in the universe, this weekend marking the first full year of being without him, that loss of a wee small house felt bearable.
So that is what I did. I said no to an offer that went where I really couldn't afford to go and ended some pretty significant misery. I took control of my life again, and freed myself of a burden. The deal fell through and a few other things ended too, and all I am left with is the feeling of being lighter than air.
Last night when it was all over, after a wonderful, good, deep, thoughtful talk with my kids, I drove home. And I felt strong enough to face my fear and accept whatever Mr. Needles soul and the universe had in store for me. I drove that road along the park.
I saw three deer. I did it right.