I have moved around all my life. Starting aged five; I came to Australia on a ship-full of hopeful families from Europe and the United Kingdom. I was in the USA at 10, and again at 16. I returned at 26. London, Edinburgh, Brussels, Bruges; they have all been home at one time. Australia has been home again since 2004. So I am used to goodbyes, ‘though not good at them.
I hang onto small, insignificant items – throwing away anything causes me great anxiety and grief. I never throw away people. Those, I keep safely tucked within a deep pocket, and I take with me wherever I go.
This latest, and, perhaps, last trip, to Spain, necessitates a clearing of belongings; jettisoning 7 years history in this beloved cottage. The pile of discarded memories that the council picked up yesterday contained folding chairs we took to summer pool and beach trips, a fan heater that warmed my feet that last winter I worked from home, marking student assignments in my cold study. There was the “astro-turf” that I used to set the inflatable pool on each summer, and the dog’s little paddling shell. Garden canes, paper lanterns, off-cuts of the checked vinyl we laid in the bathroom, kitchen and sun-room the first week we moved into this house; all discarded. They might have come in handy for something one day, which will not happen.
I feel oddly cleansed and bereft at the same time. So many partings. So many new beginnings. So much to look back at and so much to look forward to.