I think I’ve figured it out. Or at least perhaps a part of it.
Whenever I come here to visit my mother, I have a negative reaction to the time here. It’s not anything she says to me. After all, she has the same judgmental litany of complaints to share whether it’s in person or over the phone.
It’s not the memories of Dad, or the unpleasant memories of living in this house, either. Yes, they are all there, and yes, sometimes they affect me… but something in this house has in the last handful of years caused my visits here to turn even more negative than normal.
And… I think I figured it out.
It’s the noise.
It’s the constant incessant noise. The floors are wood, and since Dad died, Mother doesn’t require the removal of shoes in the house anymore. The living room has a high ceiling and a few years ago, she had all the carpet removed and wood flooring installed.
The TV is always on. Even when it’s not, every step, every movement, every voice, every SOUND is amplified and echoes. There’s no softness to absorb any of it, as much of the wall art and softer furnishings have been sold off or given away since Dad’s death.
It’s hollow and loud. Even when closed off in a different room, you can hear everything, just at a lower decibel.
It is a constant barrage on the senses… all of the senses, in my case. Or, well, four out of five at any rate.
It’s not just exhausting, or irritating, but feels like some insidious sort of violence, secret and subtle that works it’s way in and leaves you raw.