First, they packed everything in the living room. The lamps, the vases, all the little objects around the house, even the chairs and the big furniture. All of that could be covered in plastic and then put in a truck in order to move. It was the biggest thing Joan had ever done and she felt very nervous about it. Packing all of her house, the things that she had gathered through the years, was not easy. Every time she decided to help with the small objects, she started telling a long story about it, recalling where she had bought it or found it or who had given it to her.
It was all because of her husband, Martin, who had accepted a surprise job offer around the world. They have never really been that far, always enjoying their holidays pretty close to home. That’s how they had lived for the past ten years. But then, Martin had come to the house with that information, the fact that they could choose to go if they wanted to. Her husband was kind enough to consult her before accepting the job. The thing was, she had no idea what to say.
Joan had never really wanted to travel the world or nothing like that. She had never been an adventurous person. Her personal life dreams had already come to happen: she was married, had a beautiful home and had two young kids. She knew may of her friends thought she wasn’t aiming high or that she was very unusual for a woman in this day an age, but that was all she wanted. She didn’t want to see Paris or London, Joan was happy with their summer holidays when they used the car to get where they wanted.
However, Martin would receive a very generous raise and the truth was they really needed it. They had always thought of getting a bigger place, improving their life a little bit more. He had always wanted to own a new car, a brand new SVU or something like that. They weren’t big objectives or anything but it was their idea to make their children have a better quality of life.
The kids were unaware of what was happening but they did notice something was different about their parents. They were always talking about something they didn’t really understand and then they seemed to be thinking of something else all day. They didn’t really seem happy or sad, more like confused and oblivious.
For the sake of change, she supported Martin in accepting the job. Things changed then because they had to begun moving everything and it was costly. First they had to throw away whatever they didn’t want to keep or give away several things, mostly minor objects around the house. They also planned on selling some of the kitchen items but they would do that at the end of their remaining time at home.
Some family members came by to help with some of the stud, choosing what they should keep or what they wanted for themselves. It took forever to do all of that, as everyone wanted something. They all wanted to take something or the kids would fight for a thing they had not seen in ages or they would reminisce for hours without really getting much done. So they decided to tell their family and friends it was best for them to be away while they organized everything.
The day the moving people took away everything in the living room, Joan almost died. She felt very sad that her home seemed to have been robbed or as if anyone lived there. She was exaggerating of course, because all other rooms remained the same. But there was something about seeing nothing in that living room that really affected her. Somehow, change wasn’t something she welcomed with open arms or anything like that. She was afraid of it.
Joan tried to talk about it to her family, her mother specifically, but she shut her down by saying it was normal to feel strange when moving but that Joan needed to understand that life is best when nothing stands still. She even told her that death was good precisely because of that, as well as children births or accidents or promotions. They changed the game in order to make you learn more and be creative and imaginative.
But Joan didn’t care for all of that. She cried at night sometimes, after Martin had fallen asleep, as she was scared even more change would come her way. What if her husband changed too much in that other country? What if her children resented her for moving somewhere everything was so different. What if she was the one who changed, really transforming in to someone she had never wanted to be?
The next room to be cleared was the studio. Lots of books in boxers, an old desktop computer that was sold for parts and some more little objects they had bought in their holidays and such. She couldn’t contain her tears when the truck came and took all those boxers away. She didn’t say a word to the men who came, who had been the same than before. Joan didn’t know what to say or what to ask. She felt they were taking everything from her.
She was normally very active all around the house and outside of it. She would participate in various school activities or in the community center nearby, she would buy new thing for her house or change the decoration a bit, doing a lot of things by herself. But now, she couldn’t do any of that as it made no sense to keep doing them. No more baking, no more cute decoration in the kids rooms.
Her children were actually the ones that noticed she had changed somehow. Her youngest, which was nine years old, approached one day in her room and asked if everything was ok. She was now suffering because her kids’ rooms were next. They were sleeping in the sleeping bags they used to go to camp. Their actual beds had been sold and new ones would be bought for their new homes. They had decided that themselves. Children were always looking forward to change, or so she thought.
Plushies and toys and all other stuff had been selected by them: some were on boxes while others were in bags in order to be given away as donations to the community center. They didn’t seem to mind. She thought they were going to be very upset once the asked them to do such a thing but there was no outburst or bad reaction. They just did what they had to do and seemed only mildly worried about sleeping in those sleeping bags. They had never really like those.
The moving men came again and took everything away form those rooms. The following day they came for things of the master bedroom, which was the second to last to be scrapped of its objects. Joan asked Martin to take care of that, as it was a Saturday. He was very fast in deciding what he wanted to keep and what not and she let him handle it all except her clothes. She had to pack those herself, which was also a nightmare. Throwing the old and keeping what she liked in big traveling bags.
Soon, they were also sleeping on the floor like their children. Two days after that, they were going to come for the remaining objects in the house, particularly some stuff in the kitchen, and that would be it. Their flight was on Tuesday so they had planned it all perfectly. Joan became more and more anxious, unable to stay inside the house for too long. She would often go to the backyard but it was difficult to be there too, as it brought too many memories to her mind.
On Monday, she decided not to be there when the men came. Martin could handle it. She decided to go to a spa with a friend, to get a full treatment. She enjoyed herself a lot, almost forgetting why she had chosen to do that. Afterwards, they had lunch in their favorite restaurant and talked about the elephant in the room. Joan had no other choice than to tell her friend how she really felt about it all.
Her friend told her she understood how she felt a lot, because she had lived all of her life travelling. But she assured Joan she didn’t have anything to fear as, maybe, she could discover many more things about herself in a different environment. She could try to get out of her comfort zone.
That phrase made Joan think all the rest of the day and even the day after, when they were driving to the airport. Once they reached the security area, she realized it was all for real and that it was happening. The moment they sat down on the plane, Martin on one side and her children on the other, Joan realized she had nothing to fear. A few deep breaths and then she was ready to dive into her next big adventure.