The tape will not stick to the side of the box. I press it down, smooth it out, but it still curls over itself in a backbend, hanging down. When the boxes are filled, when my boyfriend arrives to help move them into the truck, will the tape still stick to the bottom?
Maciej sends me boxes. He also sends me candies— Polish chocolate marshmallow candies, Cadbury Creme Eggs out of season. This is because he is infinitely practical, and because he won’t be there to help me move. Chocolates are practical things, when you consider that for all our reason, we are irrational beings with things called emotions.
I keep saying that I’m not sad to be moving, but it’s not true. But if I tell people I’m sad, my thoughts and feelings are flattened: suddenly I’m just sad, and there is only sad. People try to cheer you up.
Chocolates aren’t addressed to cheer. They are small edible comforts, bypassing the flat, trite explanations. They are favorites. They take care of something, just having them. They are doing emotional work. “I’m here, though I’m not.”
I am elated. It’s a small city, Tallahassee. I will get to explore it by bicycle. There are pecan trees everywhere. What does a ripe pecan look like? I will never pay for pecans again.
I am leaving the only satisfying retail position I have ever worked. I am leaving friends that I want to pull around me like a blanket. I know where all the mango trees overhang the roads. It is mango season. There are seasons in South Florida, and this is the one for rain and mangoes. There are mangoes ripening on my counter while everything but my knife and cutting board are in boxes.
I will be able to grow blueberries, for the first time in almost twenty years.
Maciej sends me emails.
I am fucking tired of packing. I am tired of the tape falling off. I am tired. I cycle to my favorite coffee shop. They have gotten a new espresso machine, and the shots taste just right. They nestle just off Himmarshee Street, across from the railroad tracks where the freight trains thunder through every so often.
I open an email from Maciej. He has typed “words on moving and nostalgia and relationships” into the subject line.
My coffee is perfect.
“Things you should do in [Fort Lauderdale]:
I am sitting at a wooden table in the coffee shop window, waiting for a train to pass. I have been waiting for almost an hour, but nothing has gone by, and the people in business suits meander in and out, taking steaming paper cups with them.
“– Hug your coworkers if that sort of thing’s okay.
– Hug EVERYONE”
There are not enough hugs in the world, and I have hugged coworkers again and again, had dinner over at houses, felt tears pricking my eyes during conversation. I have hugged friends I never hug, hugged friends I always hug. I feel like I’m trying to hug the ground itself here.
“Things to keep in mind:
– Boxes need to be closed on the bottom; the top can be left open.
My coffee is perfect. I will have to buy more tape. There is a freight train finally coming. I can feel it through my toes.
“– < 3 "
Worlds ask to be inhabited by beings that fit. I could not imagine Pern without its native tiny dragons (writing aside, as I don’t always care for McCaffrey, but in all cases respect where it is damned well due), or an Overside lacking the complex cultures of strange bodied folk who go about their days in the most ordinary ways. Worlds want consistency. Belonging. Tolkien achieved this through language. The philological base and folkloric roots (the Prose Edda, Beowulf) of Middle-Earth give it its credibility.
Acknowledgements: Since my post two weeks ago, I’ve put a lot of thought to the question of believability. A great deal of this thought has come from the comments made over on /r/rpg, after a friend posted my essay there. I couldn’t have asked for a better or more thought provoking discussion. Many thanks also to Aaron, who’s been helping me edit this beast of a series, and untangle my auto-academic speak.
I was prepared. I had marked all the locations of the local mango trees, had memorized the route. I had a bag for the fallen fruit, light clothing that would dry quickly, because even though it was hot, the day was shot with sun showers— prime conditions for rainbows. There was an extra set of clothes in my waterproof backpack, just in case the rain got too heavy during my fruit gathering.
With all these things in readiness, I went out the door, turned the lock, and shut it behind me. Cell phone: check. Wallet: check. Keys: oh wait.
There is only one door to my apartment. There are two windows. The window into my bathroom is in my neighbor’s back yard. The other window was there next to the door. It has two panels. One, which I had just locked and held my entire collection of Poetry magazine on the sill, and the other which held my A/C unit. The locked panel wouldn’t budge… but the wall banger’s panel? It lifted right up. Suddenly, I felt very secure.
It was a small matter then to reach over and unlatch the other panel. Then I faced my neat row of Poetry magazine, 1979 to present, all standing elbow to elbow in a chronological progression. The window didn’t lift that high.
Okay, then. I clambered onto the outside sill, and assessed my entry. My bed was just below. One flying leap: if I dove through like a tiger through a flaming hoop, I could land on my bed without disturbing my collection. Okay.
It was ready, steady, go!
I was on my back. I was on my bed. I was under a pile of books and paper, vaguely dazed from the force of Poetry to my head. But I was inside!