Tuesday, July 17, 2007

Ready to Fly

I started packing my belongings tonight in preparation for the big move from The Heights. This is hard. I begin packing with a sense of great determination and focus. There is little emotion. At first. I'm not consciously detaching myself from feeling, I just feel happily busy with so much to do.

As I pack away some Mrs Beeton cookery books (not much for the vegetarian in there, but they are a slice of my childhood, and as such, I love them), I notice a movement from the corner of my eye. It's a bat swooping from somewhere beneath my kitchen window out into the darkness. A memory hits me, hard and sudden, of my ex and I: we are stood, enchanted, at the window as a small colony of bats sweep around the yard behind my flat, in that hurricane year when we shared the Heights.

As an aside - I have a minor obsession with collective nouns - did you know that colony is also the collective noun for ants, beavers, lepers and penguins?
Course you did.

I remember this (the memory of bats, not the idiosyncracies of collective nouns) with a smile and a slight pull at my heart. As I turn away from the window and back to the kitchen, I look up at all the pictures from the children and young people I used to work with in Portsea and I wonder - what should I do with those?

So far my rule of thumb has been: if I haven't used it for a year, then it's going, but children's pictures aren't the same, are they? I look at the names on each one as I stand in front of them for five long minutes, wavering between options. I remember faces and laughter and the energy you only find in the young. The pull at my heart becomes a tug, it stretches and begins to hurt.

To distract myself, I start to look around the kitchen, but the mood has set in and everywhere are memories of ten amazing, volatile, painful, glorious years here in the Heights. Packing is hard. I shall miss being here.

I shall not , however, miss the stairs, I realise.

Then I turn my mind to the new flat, to try to capture the whole truth, not just the one I'm leaving behind. Immediately I know it has a name, just as I knew the Heights without thinking. My new place is The Loft. I know this because artists live in Lofts and the new place is all about the writing. The Loft is my room of my own. A whole new place waiting for me to define it.

I think of tall ceilings and broad spaces, open light and choosing colours for walls. I think of unpacking, a bandana wrapped around my hair (ideally I need some dungarees for unpacking, too, but I can work on this part of the fantasy later). I think of a new life, in this new place, with this new self unfolding before me each day.

I think I'm going to love it there.

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