And all of a sudden, I've moved back to Paekākāriki. With one of the twin anarchists (see All of a sudden, part 1) who is my partner of 13 years and is the father of our children. He's in the weird cyclical space of coming back to his home town, his brother living in the big brown house that was once their grandmother's, his mother still here, and now him, now our children, one at the school he went to, the other soon to be.
In a week we'd gone from starting two weeks of bathroom renovations to discovering there was no floor in that part of the house, to having our house on the market and our offer on a Paekākāriki house accepted. It took another six weeks to all fall into place, the same six weeks Joe was having to write and present 20 lectures on an area that's not his specialty. And the same six weeks that my first book was launched. And six weeks before the launch of a project at work the success of which the security of our jobs depends on. And six weeks of meals and school and playdates.
Two nights before we moved one girl started vomitting. The next night they both were vomitting. I was cleaning the house and running from one to the other with bowls and emptying the bowls in the toilet and washing the bowls. The day of the move M. was still sick. She curled in her bed until the movers, a rude bloke and his quiet friend took the beds. Then she was on the sofa until they took that. Then she was on the floor in the corner under towels because the blankets had gone. Miserable with sickness. Miserable with moving from her friends and the only house she's ever known. Joe had to leave to give the final lab of the semester and would catch a train out later. So M. watched as the movers moved boxes and furniture and bags and my parents and I ran around wiping surfaces and when the movers were gone shifting remaining things into smaller and smaller sections of the house. Even when it was one room I couldn't imagine the mess of the day which had been plagued with delays, and problems and wrangling over the release of money and keys, and the mess of the house would ever be over.
Just as we left, as I finally bundled the children into the car, and my mother and father had done the last things and we had shoved the vacuum cleaner and the bucket and the old broom and several bags of children's books into their car because mine had no more room; when we had walked backwards sweeping ourselves out of the house, my real estate agent appeared with two builders contracted by the new owner. Unexpected but I passed the key over to her and muttered gracelessly to them. I locked the children in the car, and I grabbed an empty plant pot and ran to the top of the section and to the tree that I planted on top of one daughter's placenta, and snapped a leafy twig off it and took some earth from under. Then to the other girl's tree. I was glad beyond all things that I remembered that.
One girl came to the house when she was a few hours old. The other was born in one of the rooms. It was a small cottage. We could hear each other no matter where we were without much having to raise our voices. Every possible path in the house was walked so many times it was a wonder we did not bump into our own selves coming the other way. It was a bright house. To the brim.
I took the pot and the soil with me in the front seat and said to the girls. 'It's been a horrible day. It's been our home. You were babies in that house. You grew into girls. I'm going to cry now but you don't need to worry. Being sad is part of it. If we weren't sad, if we weren't going to miss it, then it would mean we hadn't been happy. I will be sad for a while so I can be happy in the new house'. I made a strange day stranger. Somewhere behind us the children in Room 16 of Brooklyn School were packing their bags. They were sitting on the mat now. The car so packed we could see nothing through the back window. Laden. I was a woman driving her daughters through the Terrace tunnel. I was a woman driving her daughters on the motorway.
(C) Copyright 2012, Mrs Loolupants, All Rights Reserved.