Sunday, November 29, 2009


Strange weekend at home. My parents are moving from Virginia to Austin in a few weeks, and they have been busy packing up the house. As it happens we are moving that same day from our home in the village to the new place uptown. Originally we planned to pick up a U-Haul on Saturday in Virginia, load it up with the bed, rocking chair, wedding gifts, and books for the baby, and then drive it all back to New York on Sunday. I was nervous about timing, though, and traffic, and work. So we decided to pack up the truck and drive out late Saturday night.

As I sorted through all of the old stuff in my closet, I tried to move too quickly to feel sentimental. I let my eyes fall on old programs, tickets, letters, awards, cards, trophies, yearbooks, and threw most of it away. I saved the journals and the photos. I couldn't let myself think too hard about any of it.

Last night, after we had a great dinner with my parents and sister, we loaded the last of our stuff into the mighty U-Haul and pulled out. We left so quickly. "Don't think about what's happening right now," I said to L, and to myself. I tried to honk the horn jauntily as we pulled away into the night. That was my last time in that house, the last sight of my parents and sister waving from the driveway. Inside the house was a tangle of half-packed boxes and old objects on their way out of the house and our lives. Things had already changed.

It was a weird feeling driving through the cold night from Washington to New York. We left after nine and arrived around 2:30 in the morning. The highways were dark and vacant, no traffic anywhere. The U-Haul rattled mercilessly, cold air hanging around us in the cab as the engine wheezed below us. We listened to pop songs and NPR, kept our jackets on. As L closed her eyes in an attempt at sleep I sang along to the music just to make a sound. The string of headlights on the other side of the highway flattened into a broad smear before my tired eyes.

Driving through a cold night in a truck that isn't yours, carrying your old bed and the rocking chair from which your parents read to you as a child, from which you can still remember sitting in your dad's lap with his soothing arm around your shoulders, listening to the deep timbre of his voice and relaxing into the comfort and security of another night's sleep.

And now: we were hurrying towards a new room, a new dad, a new sleepy child. There was a reason we couldn't wait. Despite the late hour and the cold air and the thoughts kept at bay, it still felt, in its own pained way, like some kind of beginning.

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