I cried the night they came to take the deck furniture away. I knew that Brian had listed it. I was glad he was willing to handle all the craigslist stuff. I just didn’t know it had sold, and I didn’t know they were coming during dinner to pick it up. I didn’t know that we got forty dollars for it, either, as opposed to the three hundred we’d paid for it.
It wasn’t the deck furniture, of course. It was layers of other stuff that the deck furniture represented. I didn’t even like it that much. It was cast iron and hard to sit on, leaving waffle patterns on our thighs and backs, and it had started to rust. But I had bought it right after my dad died, with money from his death benefit. And now it was gone. To strangers I would never see again.
Similar story with the china cabinet. I had wanted it, for the china my dad had given us for our wedding. He had left it to Cindy, but she laughed, because she knew I wanted it, and she didn’t. So we took it, and I stacked the china up neatly, and it sat in the corner of our dining room collecting dust. We tried to sell it on craigslist for seventy-five dollars, but the lady noticed a chip on one corner and said it wasn’t in good enough condition.
That pissed me off. A two-inch chip on a seventy-five-dollar china cabinet? Seriously? But we said fuck it and called the Habitat truck to come and pick it up. Someone will love that thing. The china was already gone, anyway. I had taken it to an upscale consignment store in town, where they insulted its quality, refused any chipped pieces, and gave me about a hundred dollars for it, in the end. It’s a very dispiriting experience: to have strangers talk trash about your great-grandmother’s china right in front of you.
So when I found my grandfather’s West Point class ring with the ruby in the center, and the miniature version he’d given my grandmother, with a sapphire and tiny diamonds, I briefly considered selling them — hey, moving is expensive, people! — but then said no. As Brian said, I wouldn’t get enough money to not feel bad about it forever.
I posted a photo of a Dymo-tape label on a box that said, “Moving Suucks Balls.” I’d accidentally used an extra U, but I liked the emphasis, so I posted it as is. Yes, the logistics of moving is a pain, and expensive. But we moved into this house right before my dad died. It’s the last home he’ll ever have known me in. And now we’re leaving, and I feel like we’re also leaving him, in a way.
When Dad died, a dear friend gave us a gift certificate to a garden catalog, where I ordered hundreds of fall bulbs and planted them all around the house. The next spring, the yellow daffodils and multicolored crocuses made me smile, remembering Dad calling them “croci.” We’re leaving those behind, too.
The other morning, I woke up and looked at the pattern of sunlight and tree shade on the window blinds. I thought, “In three weeks, we’ll be on the road, on the way to Colorado, and I’ll never have this view again.” I’ll never lie in bed, facing east and the morning sun. Our new bedroom is on the west side of the house, with a view of mountains. But no morning light. Realizing that, in that moment, made something mundane into something sacred and precious.
I’m sad to leave. And in some moments, it does suck — or even suuck. But I’m taking as many opportunities as I can to stop and see what’s here now, in front of me, and give it its place. We all belong somewhere.