When I decided to leave San Francisco to travel with Gareth, I honestly thought that I would be back within 6 months, never once did I think that a temporary move to London would turn into a 2 year stint in South Africa. What did I have to lose? I was laid off and the economy was tanking. So, I divided my things: one pile was what I could fit into the two allotted suitcases that the airline would allow me to tow along and the other, much bigger pile, were things that I would leave behind. I packed for the summer, didn’t include too much of my business wear and left my treasured trinkets behind.
This wasnt much different from my actions when I moved to San Francisco. I packed what I could into my two suitcases, got in my 1985 Jeep Cherokee and drove the 8 hours into the city I had ached to live in since I had first visited when I was 18. Upon arrival, I had no bed, no furniture at all and no job. I slept on a cold wooden floor with a pillow and blanket for about 6 weeks before I could afford a bed. I would never have asked my parents for money; I knew what my Mom’s response would be: “Move home”.
I find myself in a very similar predicament and for some reason, now that I am older, the fearlessness I once possessed has diminished a bit. Perhaps it is because I feel responsible for another human being. I can no longer galavant around, free and without fear, doing what I like.
I know that things shouldnt matter so much, but sometimes, “things” can be really comforting. Before I left San Francisco to follow my heart, I had asked the maintenance man to store my things for me, and he did, free of charge. Lucky me. I honestly thought that after two years these things would be gone. Doug the maintenance man has now left his position as maintenance man at my old building and this led me to believe that I truly never would, see my things.
I phoned the landlord who knew nothing of my stored belongings and even expressed irritation that his old maintenance guy would store something free of charge, but he took me to look in the closet I had left all my things in a couple years before. I wished, I hoped, I may have even said a little prayer; when that closet door opened my heart stopped a minute and then I saw them: those three boxes I had haphazardly packed so long ago sat there waiting for me.
I have spent the day unpacking these precious boxes, reminiscing and feeling pure glee at things I had forgotten. Finally, I am able to put things that belong to ME in the place I am living. Finally I can see and touch all the little trinkets I collected during my travels, all my favorite shoes and scarves- it is a reunion that has made my somewhat lonely transition bearable.
So, perhaps things shouldnt mean so much and I could have lived without them, but I must admit, I am so overjoyed to be able to touch and see and organize all my things I had so carefully collected throughout my life.
Thank you Dougie the Maintenance Man- you have made me feel at peace in this sort of lonely place I was in.
P.S. I now realize how absolutely spoiled I was. I have about a billion shoes, several scarves, tons of shirts and pants and an abundance of coats. God Bless America and its excess.