7.28.2010

The Night Before


I was six and we were moving across the globe like a band of nomads. 


That night we slept on the living room floor of my childhood home in a room full of boxes, sleeping bags, pillows, and the awful tangible feeling of imminent change. Mine was a pink sleeping bag in the browns and mauves of the living room, and in the morning we flew across the sea to a land of spice and the smell of plastic and tobacco.
Since that night there have been many nights-before, all as strange and exciting and dreadful as the first. Nights spent in cramped hotel rooms before cross-country moves, nights spent navigating through box mazes in hauntingly empty houses, and last supper barbecues with family on summer nights, facing a first move with a new husband, choking down the fear of feeling homesick and trying so hard to be a big girl. 
Here we are again. This time the boxes are mine, and the hauntingly empty house, too. My husband takes the dogs for one last walk through the neighborhood and the house is empty but for the sound of my quiet thoughts.
I pass through echoing bedrooms, sweeping up the last traces of evidence that we were here; bits of fabric in the studio, a few of my hairs in the bedroom, a couple of escapee earring backs in the dark of the closet. 
I stop for a moment in my room of dreams, my broom suspended in mid air. As I look around the room I am aware that it isn't really my room of dreams anymore. Now it belongs to someone else, and suddenly I can see the chipped paint on the window sill, the dents in the floor boards, the scuffs on the hardwoods. It's just a room. My dreams don’t live here anymore.
I haul the air mattress into the living room and await my freshly-walked husband and dogs in the quiet of a house that’s no longer mine. I can taste that feeling of imminent change, so tangible and awful, right there on my tongue. That desire to hold onto every passing moment, to memorize it and bury it deep where I can never lose it. Already struggling to remember what the rooms looked like when we still belonged here, before they became empty and haunted by our ghosts. That sensation of the last four years sinking deep into my bones through my skin, as the night gently cools the summer heat from the pavement and the heat of our ghosts from the walls of this house.

21 comments :

  1. what a beautiful post!
    i really do hate the packing & moving process.

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  2. wow. amazing post. my favorite of yours, i think. captures that awful and wonderful moving feeling so well. good luck!

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  3. Beautiful. Good luck with your move!

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  4. Nicely written. Moving night always makes me unable to sleep, the excitement and wonder about a new place, about the travels... Now if I move, my house is going with me. : )

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  5. We moved so much as a child...over 20 times by the i was a teenager...so I understand how you feel.

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  6. I understand your feelings as well. We moved four times in five years when we first got married six years ago. The Army will do that to ya. It's always a sad feeling, sad to leave behind the life you knew but exciting at the same time. Moscow will miss you. I know you will miss Moscow. I am glad we got to meet and work together, I will enjoy following your blog and seeing your new holbsbaby!!

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  7. beautiful post, best of luck on the move!

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  8. My family were nomads, too. As an adult, I find I've moved a lot already in the few years I've been on my own. As the other posts have said, you capture perfectly, in this article, the essence of moving. The joys, the fear, and the excitement all rolled into one.

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  9. Moscow won't be the same without you. Can't wait to hear about all your new adventures out east.

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  10. That was just flat AWESOME! How you can put into words what all of us have felt and taken for granted is quite amazing. Like you. <3 Good luck on your move! Can't wait to start reading about your new life in New York - something this country girl from the west can never even imagine.

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  11. ok, you just made me cry. Good luck on your new life adventure!!

    xoxoxo

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  12. beautiful post. i'm excited for you. after sixteen years of marriage i've realized that when the lights go out it doesn't matter where in the world you are, as long as you are next to your true love.

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  13. I know the feeling. I think its hard to leave any place you've been living at for more than 2 years. I can't imagine how much harder it is for you since you are pregnant. I wish you all the best in your new home and cheers to many new adventures.

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  14. that was such a beautifully written post! i know the feeling of a last night well, and just reading this brought it back in full force. amazing writing.

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  15. I've been there so many times....you described it perfectly. My prayers are with you during this transition! =)

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  16. Beautiful and moving.

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  17. Well - good luck. I was moved by your post. I think you captured the melancholy of leaving very successfully. I don't think you ever read my comments but I have been following your exploits on your blog and wish you loads of luck and happiness in your new life. Get some rest too!

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  18. Did I mention that this made me sad in that house-well-loved-change-is-hard kind of way?

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  19. Ah, what a wonderfully written post, Natalie. I've felt that several times in my past, too, and you made me feel it once again. There's something about houses, you know.

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  20. I must say this may be one of my favorites. Probably because I can completely relate. The gem state is definitely missing you. Best of luck on your new adventures friend.

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