A firework streaks through the night sky. Photo by author.

Empty Space

Like jumbo shrimp, there is no such thing

Cat Strav
6 min readAug 23, 2021

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I watched as the balloon plied its way free from the others as the holder attempted to wrestle the bunch into her van. Once the string loosened, the red orb lifted steadily, floating up in the clear sky, a tiny dot diminishing, tail sashaying behind as if waving “goodbye.”

Its ascent called to me.

I found it terrifying and exhilarating at the same time, floating off into the unknown.

It mirrored my life.

I cleaned out the house

More than 5,000 sq. feet of living space, 6 of us had called home for 15 years, filled with toys, books, clothes, bedding, glassware that needed to be gone in order to sell the house.

How much of my clutter was motivated by fear? Fear of not having enough, not being enough, fear of the unknown.

It took months to relinquish it.

I sold on Facebook, Poshmark, ebay, letgo, texting with people all over the country to re-distribute most of our worldly goods, after my family had claimed what they wanted.

A family in Texas bought the double pedestal dining room table and its dozen chairs, a neighbor down the street carted off the porch swing, handmade by my uncle.

I found a dog breeder who bought two double mattresses; my girlfriend hauled the other 4 to the dump in her husband’s pick-up truck.

I held a three-day tag sale, negotiating prices for every little tchotchke.

I carted the remnants by carloads to a local donation center.

It was emotionally and physically draining.

When each room stood empty, I appreciated the openness, the airiness, the light flowing in I had never noticed previously.

I sold the house.

Like the balloon, I became completely untethered

I moved to the Midwest, leaving the community I had known for more than 20 years.

The landscape was flat and covered in cornfields, almost tree-less. It felt barren as the speed limit increased and farm land sped by, dotted by grain silos and small towns.

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Cat Strav

Yogi. Wordsmith. Hutch Pup. Diagnosed with I.O. (idiotic optimism) since an early age.