The ABF moving truck arrived yesterday morning.
Today, the loaders arrived and filled it (28 feet of truck space) with all we own in the world. Then this afternoon, a man drove his 18-wheeler cab and trailer to our house and picked it up and drove away. Oh, my. File this under “NO GOING BACK NOW.” (Yes, that merits all-caps. Don’t judge me.)
We watched the truck drive away, calling after it, “See you in Colorado!”
I’m glad I missed the loading itself. I took Jack to his preschool summer camp, went to the gym, dropped off a shitload of stuff at Goodwill, and visited some friends. Then I picked Jack up at school, and by then the house was empty, the loaders gone, the truck packed and locked up. Even so, he insisted on going to Home Depot to see the ceiling fan department. This activity is not unusual for us. What’s unusual is his level of insistence. He didn’t want to go back into the house because it’s so strange lately — just boxes and bare walls. I can’t blame him. It’s hard to be in the house now that it no longer feels like home.
Today, the feeling was even more dramatic. All of the furniture is gone. Brian set out two camp chairs in the living room, but otherwise, it’s just empty rooms with lots of crap on the floors where the furniture used to be. Cat hair, half-eaten snacks, and under our bed, about two dozen ear plugs that had fallen and gotten lost underneath. It’s pretty gross, frankly. It looks like wild animals and fraternity boys have lived here. When in fact, it’s really just three fairly dirty humans and a long-haired black cat. But all of the objects of comfort and necessity (or, rather, convenience) are gone.
The empty house just highlighted all of the things I’ve had to let go of, lately. The deck furniture on craigslist, the comfort of staying put. Leaving Wilmington, the town where my son was born, where I’ve lived for five years, where I’ve attended and graduated from grad school, where I’ve had so many good, dear friends, some of whom have now left my life forever. I lost my dad just a month after we moved into this house, and I miss him and my mom so much as we step out into the unknown. I wandered from room to room, silent, speechless, unable to take in the scope of what we were doing.
I decided I might as well get some work done, cleaning up the detritus of three years in a house with a small child, who was only five months old when we moved in, and who is now most definitely not a baby but a little man. The pile of earplugs went first. I don’t remember if Jack or I had spilled the container. I’m sure each of us did on different occasions. I shoveled them all into a trash bag, along with some cat hair, a few tissues, and an ibuprofen tablet.
As I made my way around the room, I found a small white and black rectangle of text. It was a magnet from one of those sets of refrigerator poetry, the remainder of which I’ve long ago lost track of. I picked it up to read the word. Full.
In the wake of so much leaving my life, so much emptiness, finding this word felt like a message. A note from the universe. Just a reminder. Reality is much bigger than I think.