Moving

October 23, 2007
By
I sat at my bare windowsill, staring out into the open street, which was illuminated by the soft glow of streetlights. The pillows and stuffed animals that used to line the windowsill were already being shipped halfway across the country.
All that remained in my room was my small suitcase that I had packed and a musty sleeping bag, which I had laid neatly on the floor. I had helped load boxes into the moving van a month ago, but it never hit me that we were actually moving. At school, I bragged that I was leaving Seattle. I bathed in the attention my classmates gave me due to my departure. I had already pictured the move as a great adventure. I was soon to find out that my “great adventure” wouldn’t be as glamorous as I imagined it would be.
I loved everything about Seattle. I loved falling asleep to the frequent rain outside my window. I loved the ocean and spent hours building forts out of the wood that washed upon the shore. I loved going downtown and buying sequined sand animals from the vendors outside of Pike Place Market. In my mind, Seattle was perfect. The idea of living someplace else was foreign to me and Minnesota sounded cold and harsh. I had flown alone to Minnesota almost every summer, my grandma waiting for me at the gate as I came off the plane usually holding a flight attendants hand. All of my extended family lived in Minnesota.

I heard knocking on my door and ignored it, my tears gathering at the edge of my chin. My mother slowly opened it, letting the light of the hallway flood into my room. I didn’t even look up at her.
“Rachael, It’s time to go to bed. We have an early flight.”
“Why do we have to move?” I asked, surprised at my slightly angry tone.
“We’ve gone over this honey. I know it’s hard –-“
“No you don’t know,” I snapped, covering my hands over my ears so I didn’t have to listen to any more reassurance. I knew my mother was upset about leaving. She spent almost as much time in the garden as I did playing with my neighbors who were the closest I’ll ever have to siblings. My mother loved flowers, and the backyard was crawling with them. She knew that we wouldn’t have this much land in Minnesota, and she already had packets of seeds, in her suitcase waiting for the next opportunity.
I don’t remember how long I remained at the windowsill but many hours later I crawled into my sleeping bag, my cheeks sticky from pain and left with a sense of anger that I had never felt before.

My dad had left six months ago, driving to Minneapolis with the majority of our belongings. I was confused about why my dad was leaving so early and why my mother and I had to stay behind. I was too young to understand that my parents were separating due to the instability of their marriage, but when they did divorce, I can’t say I was surprised. Ever since my dad had left, my relationship with my mother changed. No longer would I let her brush my hair or rub my back. All I wanted was my father back.

The last five minutes spent in my house, I was alone. I didn’t want to forget what home looked like but as I walked through the hallways, it was unrecognizable with the deserted rooms and empty walls. I lingered in my bedroom, feeling the tears threatening to escape. When we first moved in, my dad painted my room baby blue (then my favorite color) and built a small white shelf about five inches below the ceiling. I had lined my many beanie babies on the shelf, categorizing them by color. My bed was a queen, complete with baby blue sheets and white pillows. While the house was on the market to sell, my parents had paid me ten dollars a week if I kept it clean. Of course, every morning and night I picked up the books strewn over the floor and threw the stuffed animals back onto my bed. Now, it wasn’t my room and that thought just about killed me. I desperately wanted to be remembered and I came up with the idea of a way I would never be forgotten. I took a black pen from my mother’s purse and carved my name into the wall. My signature was small, yet signifigent enough that If I returned ten years later to my house, I would know where to find it.

I heard the honk of a taxi and looked outside to see my mother motioning for me to come outside while the shabby driver loaded our suitcases into the trunk. I left the house, feeling the permanent click of the lock behind me and the tears came. I climbed into the backseat of the taxi and faced the window. It was the first time in my life that I remember feeling completely numb.





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