I’m surrounded by way too much crap to fit in the few boxes I have. I thought I’d saved more of the many boxes my parents have sent over the past eighteen months. It certainly seemed at times like I couldn’t turn around without stepping on cardboard.
Yet here I am, packing once more, sticking all the little pieces of my life into oddly-shaped corners, hoping they’ll survive the trip to my new condo in Edgewater.
My condo. When did I become an adult?
There’s the little plastic Barbie tumbler Mom and I bought at Salvation Army years ago. She sent it to me as a joke, and a little piece of home. I use it pretty much exclusively to punch holes in pieces of bread for cowboy eggs, a breakfast Dad used to make for us.
Then there are the glasses made out of wine bottles that I bought with Mom and Sarah at my favorite farmers market in Arizona. The Snow White coffee cups that Keri bought me for Christmas. A Lego version of the Sears Tower Dad and I bought to assemble the first time he came to visit me in Chicago. The little bottle of mustard seeds (among other spices and sauces) Brian gave me when he moved to DC. The vase that came with the roses my brother sent me one Valentine’s Day. My grandmother’s tablecloth. The nightstand I brought home on the bus. The lamp I brought home on the bus. The trunk I brought home on the bus. (I told Mom delivery was free.) The end table Drew drove home for me so I wouldn’t have to ride the bus with another piece of furniture. Diplomas. A letter of recommendation from Len Downie. The dressy work clothes that Mom and I bought the summer I interned at the Washington Post. (I wear T-shirts and jeans to work now.) The Indiana Jones whip I kept above my desk at the Collegian. The guitar that survived Scout camp. Journals full of memories, journals full of tears, journals full of years.
I’ve been in Chicago almost two years now. This tiny little studio has never really felt like home, but in some strange way, I’m going to miss it. I think a lot of it has to do with the realization that this is my last bachelorette pad. Even though Drew won’t move into the new condo until after we’re married, knowing it will happen is such a strange thought. (Judging from what he’s said on the topic, he’s having a hard time wrapping his mind around it, too.) Part of me wonders how well I’ll be able to adjust to living with someone else, after being on my own for this long. Don’t get me wrong: I am absolutely thrilled about the idea of sharing life with him. (Not having to worry about how late it is when we say goodbye will be freaking wonderful.) But it’s a very new kind of chapter for me. I don’t know quite what to expect.
As I pack, I realize that I get to bring parts of all the old chapters with me. That’s an incredibly comforting thing.