The scavenging for boxes, the selecting, packing and stacking of my belongings, are almost done. My bedroom’s five bookshelves are empty. I haven’t gone through the chest of drawers, but I figure that should be easy. Clothing will go into two deep boxes, and shoes will all be dumped into a large garbage bag. I’ve already transported a few dozen boxes and a lot of the more fragile items to the new place.
I can say unequivocally that the last two weeks have been among the loneliest I can remember. I’m not certain why, though I keep recalling the packing of my parents’ apartment in Paris after my mother’s death. As now, I did it largely by myself. My father was incapable of helping, too stunned by the demise of his spouse of forty-five years. One sister had fled Paris, the other was unavailable. I bought a hundred and fifty boxes, tissue paper, tape and a large marker. I paid the woman at the corner news kiosk a small fortune for all her unsold day-old newspapers. I spent six days wrapping and boxing. There were a lot of tears and a lot of croque-monsieurs sandwiches, which was all my father wanted to eat. I cooked them on the tiny Parisian gas stove and he ate them with relish, asking every ten minutes or so why my mother wasn’t there. He had set a plate for her in the dining room and complained that she was always late for a meal.
A lot of the stuff I have disposed of for this move was related to my parents, and I have come to the conclusion that one should not do this sort of stuff alone.
It’s not good for the soul.