By Vita Forest
She left the house that morning with the final three boxes sitting snugly in a row across the back seat. The removalists followed the car up the hill and away, away from it all.
They stopped at her sister’s place to pick up the pieces. The pieces of frame to make up the bed. The mattress that slept under another bed. The pile of carefully folded sheets that fitted the mattress exactly.
She had been floating. Floating around the house. Sleepovers with the kids on foam mattresses in their rooms. Or wrapped in a too big sheet on a camp bed in the study. The study that she had made into her fortress. A brass lock from Bunnings that came with its own set of screws. The little screws she had pressed through the paint on the door until the tips pierced the wood, that she had wound down and down with the screwdriver til they sat flush against the surface. The tiny bolt sliding deftly across to the door frame. Sweet dreams indeed.
The truck waddled along behind the car, pulling up behind her at the new home. The removalists gave their shoulders a quick roll, then started to empty the truck. Boxes, bedframes, ficus in terracotta pot, her favourite chair and the Hundertwasser print bought in Berlin. All hauled through the gate to the courtyard, across the grass, skimming the gardenia bushes and up the stairs to her new life.
An hour later, her parents rang the new doorbell and came in with a thermos of tea to keep them going until that new kettle could be located (Kitchen Box 2). Her sister arrived with her niece and bag of home-made granola. They stood on the balcony in the sunshine and sipped tea from plastic mugs, the removalists sculling theirs black and strong before going back to work. Steadily the rooms filled with boxes and bookshelves and chairs and un-assembled wardrobes.
She unwrapped her share of plates and cups and kitchen stuff and decided that the mugs should go on the open shelf near the window. Her sister unpacked clothes, carefully folding them into neat squares smoothed of any creases, before packing them away in the newly assembled chest of drawers. Her niece drawing on used sheets of packing paper with a selection of five crayons while sitting inside an empty suitcase. Her mother collapsing spent boxes into flat rectangles ready for the garage. Her father laying out slats and legs and pieces of frame and building the bed.
The bed for her new bedroom. The bed from her sister’s that would be hers for now. And as she carried boxes down to the garage and hung pictures on the hooks around the walls, her mother made the bed. The sheets, the pillows in matching cases, the quilt from childhood. All there in her new home, the bed from her sister, put together by her father, made up by her mother.
That night she slipped down between the clean, crisp sheets and smiled up at the new ceiling and let go.