We have started selling our stuff. I thought it would be liberating, and in a way it is. But it’s also triggered a clinginess and nostalgia I hadn’t expected.
Each time my phone pings with a message from Jared telling me he’s sold something else, I’m one part relieved and one part sad to see that object go. Yesterday it was my keyboard, the one he gave me for my birthday a few years ago.
“Jared sold my keyboard,” I said to my co-workers. “I didn’t even get to play it one last time.”
“I didn’t know you were musical,” one woman said. “What can you play?”
“Well, I can do ‘Kiss the Girls’ from The Little Mermaid,” I said. “And ‘Scales and Arpeggios’ from The Aristocats.”
“Sounds like the world’s really going to miss out,” she answered.
I chose to ignore the sarcasm.
As we decide what to list on Gumtree, I try to consider what we would most like to have around for the next five weeks, right up until the day we leave. The bed makes the cut, as do the two armchairs in the living room, and the fridge.
“Those are really the main things,” I said, looking around. “The rest of it can go whenever.”
“I’ll put the hammock stand up today then,” Jared said.
“Wait,” I cried. “Let me lay in it one more time just to make sure.”
“OK, what about the bar?” he asked.
“Maybe we should have people over first,” I said. “Kind of a send-off for the bar.”
You get the idea. There’s always a reason to hang on to what we’ve got, but the truth is that once it’s gone, it’s gone, and I’ll move on. Saying goodbye to our things is harder than expected, but the adage out of sight, out of mind will apply as soon as we hit the road. In the meantime, we have invited his parents over for Mother’s Day before realizing that we may no longer have a kitchen table. Oops.
There are things we’ll keep. Our wedding photo album will go into a box bound for my in-laws’, along with a stack of European postcards I’ve been carrying around since 2004. Their guest room closet will inherit Jared’s suits and my dresses as I get used to the idea of living in yoga pants and baseball caps (which to be honest I pretty much do anyway so no big transition there).
I have a pattern when it comes to getting rid of stuff – one day the mood will strike, and I will be ruthless in my cull. Occasionally I’ll go too far (RIP orange maxi skirt to the Buenos Aires dumpster) but usually it’s for the best. I’m sure I’ll still bring things I don’t need, things that will prove useless as we drive up the coast – that’s the nature of travel. Unless of course you’re Clara Bensen from No Baggage, but I’m not quite there yet.
Though we’ve been planning this trip for a long time, it has ambushed us. The weeks will tumble into each other until it’s June 9th and we are staring at a car that will have taken on the additional title of house. I hope, in that moment, I will not be thinking of what we’ve gotten rid of, but of what we are about to gain.