It’s 2:30 am on a Tuesday morning, and here I sit at my computer, unable to sleep. All around me, my possessions are packed away into cardboard boxes, sealed shut with zebra striped masking tape to take some of the monotony out of the moving process, and yet all I see is the sad, bare shell of the home I have grown to love over the past four years. From the hole in the wall I accidentally made when moving in my washer and dryer set, to the soda stain on my living room carpet, this home is the essence of me and my family. Except now the walls are bare of artwork, my books and DVD’s are snugly packed away, and I have thrown out or donated more of my old things than I remembered even owning. This empty husk of a home makes me feel more alone than I have ever felt in my entire life.
The last few days have been especially hard. After fighting a tremendously long battle, I have secured both a job and apartment in my new town. Although having those ducks in a row has offered me a wonderful sense of relief, now my attention can focus back on the fact that I am actually leaving the town I grew up in. The place where all my friends and family are. The place I had my first kiss. The place I had every intention of growing old and dying in, until fate dumped a wonderful opportunity into my son’s lap a year ago. And while I have had time to let that inevitability sink in, it hadn’t actually hit until this moment. It’s the first time I have given myself the chance to stop and remember, and realize that once the packing and cleaning is complete, the move is the next step.
Logically, I have always been aware this moment would come, but tonight it resounds with such a frightening clarity that it is nearly crippling. What if I am unsuccessful in my new job? What if I don’t make any friends? What if my son grows to resent me for taking him away from the only place he ever knew, even though this entire life change is to benefit him? Moving back in a year with my tail between my legs when I put on such bravado about how well everything is going to come together for us would be a nightmare. Everything will have changed.
If I were being honest with myself, I would have said that everything has already started to change. The people that I spent adoring the last several years have become non-existent recently. I’ve already began to memorize the roads in my new town, and to forget the places I knew so well in the town I haven’t even left yet. My neighbors have once again become the nameless faces I pass by everyday instead of the people who’s children come over to play with mine. And up until now, I have accepted it without much notice.
But as I sit in my quiet home for one of the last night’s ever, I can’t help but mourn the loss of my present life. At not quite 30, I feel that my life will take a turn for the mundane once I leave the town I’ve lived in since I was a reckless teenager. What will it be like to live in a place where nobody knows me? Here I have the tendency to see my son’s friend at Wal-Mart, nearly collide vehicles with an ex-boyfriend on Madison Avenue, and have my former English teacher as a client, all in one day. The niceness of familiarity and belonging is something I have always pined for, and I am voluntarily giving it up after having finally found my niche in the world. This is the longest I have ever lived in one place, and now I am leaving. It stings so bad I can physically taste bile in my throat.
This article is impossible to end, seeing as how I want to sink my fingernails into this moment and hold on for dear life. But that is not an option. The only thing I can do is publish this, than go to sleep and continue moving fourth with the plan that was set into motion a year ago. Tomorrow I will finish packing and cleaning, and move forward by doing what needs to be done, and not give a second thought to the morose mood that has fallen over me tonight. Maybe things won’t work out the way I keep hoping and praying they will. But then again, maybe they will turn out even better.
Liliana Grace is Secret Laboratory‘s Women’s Affairs editor; her dream job would be sitting on her patio all day, drinking margaritas and alternating between reading and writing–and once she was sufficiently drunk, getting a massage from one of her several hot man servants. Visit Ms. Grace at http://ouischbabe7.blogspot.com/
Email Ms. Grace at firstname.lastname@example.org.