The thing about moving house is that you’re forced to examine everything you own. One has to determine its worth, and thus if it makes the cut for a place in a new home when said home is on the eleventh floor and you don’t know if the lift works. Do I take it? you ask yourself. Should I give it away? Would anybody actually want this stuff? Is this copy of The Fabulous Girl’s Guide to Decorum really mine?
The thing about moving house after most of your worldly possessions have been in storage is that you’re forced to examine all of these things in the context of memories, which takes considerably longer to mentally (and like, D’UH, emotionally) process than a simple YES/NO system one could otherwise adopt.
See: This! This is the teddy bear my roommate gave to me after I decided sleeping with a college freshman was a really bad idea but he was so cute it bummed me out to tell him so! AND THIS! I got this made for less than a quid by a small Vietnamese man! AND THIS! THIS IS THE CD OF MY TAROT CARD READING THAT A NICE OLD LADY IN A SHAWL DID FOR ME AS I WAS LEAVING UNIVERSITY! SHE SAID I’D MARRY A CAPRICORN!
(This weekend I was reading the bestseller list in The Times, and noticed that the top three books were, of course, the Fifty Shades of Grey trilogy. Except, book one is now at number three in the chart, and book three is the week’s top seller. WHICH MEANS, obviously, that the entire nation has consumed books one and two and as a country we are finishing the trilogy together now. GUYS. THE BRITISH! READING BOOKS! EXPERIENCING THE SAME STUFF APART, BUT TOGETHER! SOMETHING I EXPERIENCED ON MY OWN, IN ROME, WHEN I WAS A BIT SAD! MAYBE NOW I BELONG TO A SECRET FIFTY SHADES OF GREY CLUB THAT I DIDN’T KNOW EXISTED UNTIL I MOVED TO LONDON AND READ A NEWSPAPER! This dramatic epiphany drew actual salty tears to my eyes in a manner not matched until ten minutes later when Downton came on and Shirley McLaine made everyone have a picnic in the drawing room. That was magically inspired and buggar me if I didn’t get a lump in my throat.)
When I’d just gotten back to England I flung myself into the loft of my Auntie’s garage to wade through the piles of boxes marked Laura- because when I said my life fit entirely into just two suitcases and a carry-on I lied. Not on purpose, of course. In my imagination those luggages were genuinely the only things in the world I owned. But possibly my dramatic tendencies conveniently blocked out the books, clothes and ornamental Nepalese Buddha statues housed in pink glitter boxes in somebody else’s house on the edge of the Peak District. So I had to go sort through it all.
I was prepared to throw most of it out or give it away. I DID NO SUCH THING. Hence, therefore, why as I am writing this I’m wearing jodhpurs and a lace leotard, and last night used a floor-length Japanese kimono as a dressing gown. I made a decision in that drafty loft, and that decision was to stop being such an idiot about my past-, which, as I said, I’d convinced myself, didn’t exist- and my future, and all the other stuff, and recognise that it can all belong in one room in East London. And what’s more would.
So on Saturday morning, the boxes of memories and I filled- in a very precise and exact manner- the entirety of a silver Ford Focus, and in less time than it takes to watch the director’s cut of Titanic bombed down the M1 to my waiting brother, who roasted squash and lifted the heavy stuff and gave me a hug before bed which was the loveliest of all the things.
I said goodnight and closed the door; slipping off the kimono, I turned off the bedroom light. I expected to be plunged into darkness. But as I turned to get into bed I had to catch my breath, because out of the (currently curtain-less) window, lights danced into the distance, stretching and stretching further than I could even see, and it wasn’t like anything I’ve ever seen before going to bed before, and it was incredible, and I had to remind myself to exhale, and it felt like I was somewhere I’d never been before, but exactly where I was supposed to be.
I climbed into my new bed in the room next to my baby brother.
Like I said, exactly where I was supposed to be.