I'm sitting on my floor, with my laptop on a plastic storage box, with my possessions in two suitcases, a carry-on, a duffle bag, and two plastic boxes. My computer desk goes this morning to its new owner and my bed disappears tomorrow night.
Every day my apartment becomes a little larger and a little cleaner and a little more foreign to me. The memories of the good times and the growing older-- if not up-- that has taken place in this vanilla box are now packed away inside me and inside things that will be left behind.
This is a familiar state for me to be in now but the first time I went through it is still carved into my memory. "Don't forget to breathe," an acquaintance advised me at one point in the departure process, "It's like childbirth, but it lasts longer."
For me, who could have happily given birth in any nearby potato field, it was infinitely worse than childbirth. Each time I do this, it becomes a shorter period of hyperventilation, but the question remains. Why was I inflicted with the DNA that caused my ancestors to leave England in the early 1600s, Ireland during the Potato Famine, and most recently, my teenage grandfather to accompany his older brothers on a ship that took him from Germany to America?
I like to think that I am simply preparing a new home for my family to come to, just as my forbears did--and with the current political and economic climate, this may not be a fantasy. Who knows? A tiny Alaskan colony may soon be established in Bangkok, in flight from Sarah Palin and the victory of the Religious Right. (A girl can dream, can't she?)