Sometimes I see a look of disappointment when someone notices the detached garage at my family’s new home.
What they undoubtedly are unaware of is that ever since I was a young man in Junior High, the unexpected whir of a garage door opening has about a 70% chance of inducing a panic attack that requires an exercise of meditation and rapidly talking myself down, or swalling benzos, to remove the onset of anxiety that can end up knocking the wind out of me.
The short version is that there was a high probability that the garage door rolling up beneath my feet meant that my mother’s husband had come home. Anyone in the house at that moment would noticeably bristle and prepare themselves. And now, 20 years later, that feeling of dread and waves of stress from anxiously analyzing the long list of things he could be angry about echos in my emotional muscle memory. His arrival could result in anything from being grounded for a week to far more dire consequences for myself or my mother because of something I didn’t do to his satisfaction as Lord Dickbag, Knight of the Lazyboy.
It has always tweaked my spouse that I wanted to know when I should expect her home. It tweaked me, too, and slowly I began putting it together that my brain vastly prefers looking forward to the whir and grind of a garage door, rather than having it spontaneously lurch to life.
G-d bless the souls of the architects and builders of my home; the design decisions they made are not only aeshetically appreciated, but they will give me time to heal through those wounds without a constant and grinding reminder of something I once feared. My new home is safe and filled with love. That detached garage ensures that I will never have that association of their arrival with tension and anxiety by distant proxy. I hear nothing but footsteps and laughter and I know I am reunited with the people I love.