It’s way too warm for the “w-o-o-o-o-ing” frequency I hear in the wind in this mid-October light. Despite the wind it’s supposed to stay warm for another day and not get cold until Wednesday. The sun is dropping down toward the mountains and the tiny orange and yellow leaves still cling tenaciously in clumps along the almost bare branches of the Locust trees outside my living room window. Earlier a lone bee came through my open kitchen door and buzzed me as I sat at my computer before going back out into the afternoon sun. Even the mountains seem to be waiting for something to change. There is a new coating of white on the highest peaks.

In my old house it would be the time for putting mouse traps in the basement along the northwest corner of the foundation, and in some years on the floor in the kitchen closet pantry, too. Over the course of a couple of weeks I would trap six or eight mice, no more, no less, and that would be the end of the invasion. In the spring there would be a few more mice. My daughter’s Beagle-Blue Heeler mix and I would be sitting in the living room and watch a little brown body scoot across the floor. Thus I would know it was time for traps. The dog, Beeler, would bring me half dead baby bunnies all spring and summer, but the mice she obviously considered beneath her and purely my job to cope with. She hardly ever even turned her head.

Beeler has been gone a few years now and I haven’t lived in that house for longer than that. My ex-husband never did anything about the mice. He’s either poisoned the whole house or the mice have found a warm winter refuge. Sometimes I still catch myself thinking about the seasonal things I used to do to transition that house into another part of the year and wonder whether they get done. It doesn’t matter this year, I suppose, because the house is finally going to be sold.

We sat in the realtor’s office yesterday and went over the listing and the pricing and what would stay and what would go in the house. The realtor offers a free consultation with a person who does “exit strategies,” i.e. staging, with the listing. She also won’t put the house on the MLS until it’s in condition to take bunches of pictures for people who shop for houses first by internet. I think my once-husband seriously thought I would let him live there until he was ready to move out, no matter how many years that took.

The saddest part, really, is the level of venom with which the man who was my husband deals with me. In my opinion, five years is a very long time to hold such a living, palpable grudge. As they say, the only one hurt by that kind of feeling is him. Ninety nine percent of the time, because I have very little direct dealing with him at all, I don’t even know how angry he is, especially now about selling the house. With the house gone there will be nothing remaining of our connection as man and wife. We’ll always be bound by the two beautiful human beings who came to grace our lives in the form of children, but finally, at last, that property will be someone else’s legacy.

I think sometimes this bothers me so much now because when the divorce was still in process I was simply overwhelmed by emotion, physical illness and financial problems to the point that selling the house seemed the least of my worries. My son was still in high school. It took all I had to put one foot in front of the other. Now my life is miraculously calm by comparison. I like my days. I don’t have to live with anyone spewing toxic emotional energy all over the place. These current last-of-the-legal-business encounters weigh heavily on me.

I am grateful for the still warm fall days and the yellow light of the slanting sun touching the many-colored leaves as the afternoons draw to a close. “You don’t have to do anything now except sit back and wait for the check,” my friend said to me the other day. In a way she’s right. I don’t have to clean up the property or stage the interior or find somewhere to move or sell the skateboard ramp in the barn. I am a “stranger at law” as the saying goes. I just get to force the sale, as was already decreed and agreed upon four years ago. Honestly, it’s about time.

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