I’m terrible at saying goodbye, and so when the time came for me to move from Long Island to the city and say goodbye to my friends, I mostly didn’t. I had a great last day with my best friend Kate, told Yeliz, Gulsah, and Isabel that I was moving, packed up and left. I’m bad with change unless I just Fortnite dive into it with no parachute, and so that’s how I had to go.
Here’s the thing people don’t tell you about moving: even if you own nothing you own way too much for when you have to move. Packing is the absolute worst, especially if you’re a hoarder like, uh… my... friend. Because not only does packing already take way too long, but then you end up spending hours just staring at each individual paper you uncover, reading and rereading it as you rediscover its relevance at whatever point in your life it came to exist. And then you go through it all over again as you unpack in your new temporary home. And a shard of your life scratches the floor of your current self. A hole in your lungs sucking the air out as you remember a friend you didn’t tell you were leaving, who has now wrongly decided she was unimportant to you and doesn’t take your texts seriously. And the mirror has a shard missing and your lungs have a hole and your floor is scratched, and they’re all linked. And you unpack. But unpacking takes way too long when you’re alone. And each box is twenty feet tall, as high as your new ceilings, too tall to trust and to reach. Taller than it ever needed to be. And you can see that now. So you stay still. Afraid to move. Afraid to make your presence known before a twenty foot door.
You spend four long years never fully unpacking. Moving from space to space and door to door. And you lose more and more connections as you say less to less people each time you leave. Because you feel less every time you leave. Until the one day you hope for, when everything falls into place and you can text and it will feel real. When you can make plans that happen. When you can say your home is solid and your mirror is clean. When you are no longer still.
And you are moving again.
Ryan C. Robert is the writer of multiple comedy blogs, most of which are satirical and self-deprecating. He writes about his life in his personal essay series "Before Color," parodies cooking blogs in "Trish's Dishes" and posts writing prompts every single day.