Movers will come tomorrow with paper and boxes. Movers, moving through piles of what stays and what goes, moving in and out like ants.
You’ll be away at farewell lunches, farewell presentations, surprise fare-thee-wells near your desk, you’ll receive e-mails from around the world, saying good job, good work, good luck.
I’ll fare well at home, my world, listening to tape reel off dispensers as our daughter’s toys get packed and crated, as dinner plates get stacked and wrapped, as barefooted men fold shorts and jeans that don’t fit this trimester. I’ll stand on the balcony and say goodbye to the wind-whipped ocean, to the hills with trees taller than any building I ever worked in, goodbye to the monkeys that shook the branches looking for figs. I’ll grab the top rail and feel the paint chips break off as I squeeze to hold on. Down below, the swimming pool will be too far away to cushion any fall.
Our neighbors will peer through their peep holes and in different languages they will think, the Americans are moving, we will not hear the blond little girl scream for chocolate milk, no longer smell pork chops grilling on Tuesday nights, they will think, that was quick, they were barely here at all.
During the last walk-through, the landlord will point to a stain on the couch, crayon on the wall; he will ask about the lever in the shower; I could say that I pulled it off trying to get more hot water, but I will not be walking-through, I’ll be staying on the balcony, knowing too soon we will be waiting in airports for airplanes with flight attendants wearing shiny silk robes. They will touch our daughter’s cheek and try to get her to say hi. We will sit with her between us, cinch her seatbelt, even though she’ll slip right out, and then we will be moving, across the land and into air, below us the hills and the ocean, moving and moving all around.
“Crazy,” you will say, spinning, looking for anything, whatever else needs to go, but everything will be gone, already on its way to a new place even though we called this one home. Down the hall, there is an echo of little feet on a tile floor, running, jumping, skipping in empty rooms. “When we got here, she was in a bassinet,” I will say, but you will be ready at the door, holding three passports as I will be holding the rail, my hand still squeezing as the paint chips splinter into my skin.
Ed Latson lives and works in Austin, Texas. If he’s not on the playground watching his four-year-old dangle from the monkey bars or keeping his two-year-old from eating sand, he’s probably at a coffee shop, frantically finishing a novel before a third child is due to arrive in May of 2013
Photography by Eleanor Leonne Bennett