Pack Up by Dayle Lynne
I used to look forward to moving. I did it so frequently as a child that I learned to embrace it. Every move was a chance to start over, a chance to make new friends, a chance to discover new things.
My mom-mom’s house in East Falls had a backyard full of “gold rocks”, crab apples, and chestnuts. Royersford had Alan’s, the candy store on Main Street. Audubon had a cool playground. Well, until they leveled it to expand the parking lot. Eagleville had the wooded area with the poison ivy where my friends and I set up our “club house”.
Lawrenceville had the video store with the vast selection of indie flicks and the gorgeous clerk who would recommend them to me. Princeton had over-priced, but outstanding delis. Riverside had Scott Street with the hippie shop and independent bookstore. Wissahickon had the playground that was immersed in tree cover – making my daylight-hating-self more apt to take my daughter out.
Every move has presented a new opportunity to find some hidden gem. Until now. As I think about the boxes and totes stacked in my basement, the ones I haven’t bothered to unpack in the two years since I’ve lived here, I dread the thought of doing this all over again. I’m tired.
32 years old and my next move will make it an even 20. I think about packing again and unpacking again. I think about the yard sales and more trash bags than I can count. I think about deciding, once again, what trinkets from my life don’t hold enough meaning to cart over to a new house.
I’ll go to supermarkets and 7-11s to ask for boxes. I’ll go to Walmart and buy more totes. I’ll ask my friend whose brother-in-law works for Dunkin Donuts if she can get me boxes again. Everyone will tell me that I have too much stuff. Everyone will tell me that I need to throw more things away. I’ll overreact and cry about how these are my memories and I can’t just throw away my memories. They’ll get exasperated and throw their hands up and tell me I’m overreacting. I’ll give them an evil stare.
If this was a year and a half ago, I’d walk outside and smoke a cigarette. Now, I’ll probably go pour a glass of wine from the box in the refrigerator.
I am tired of packing and unpacking my life. I’m tired of opening up the same boxes over and over and over again. Newspapers and bubble wrap to protect the fragile stuff. Packing tape and Sharpies to seal and label.
We need someone to drive the moving van. Or maybe we can save up enough to hire movers. And then we’ll load everything in, set up the furniture, bring the boxes to the proper rooms, and start the organization process. And the whole time I’ll be thinking, “If I don’t unpack everything and keep things organized in totes, it will make it easier for the next time I move.”
It’s not exciting anymore. And at the risk of sounding cliché, I’m too old for this shit.
But I’ll do it. Because I have to. Because I keep hoping that my next move will be the move home.