I sit on the edge of the sofa, elbows on my knees and chin on the heels of my hands. I inspect the room for the hundredth time. Spotless. My home is now up for rent, and it looks like a show house. I should be proud, and I am, but I feel sad. We’ve lived here for more than twenty years, and in a few weeks, I have managed to erase everything that ever happened within these walls. I know memories are within you, but it feels like a sacrilege to wipe the slate clean. I know this is only a fleeting feeling as I’m here on my own, on the verge of closing my front door for the last time. My suitcase is waiting patiently by the door together with my carry-on rucksack.
Everything is ready, I have said all my goodbyes, and I’m happy I’m leaving just before the chill of late autumn starts changing the trees from the explosion of colours to barren branches. I feel suspended between two worlds, one that I know well and I’m firmly planted in, and one with an exotic allure which is beckoning me. I’m on the verge of an entirely different chapter of my life. I know nothing is irreversible, but I don’t want to think of the possibility of having to retrace my steps back here, not until I give my new existence a thoroughly good go.
I hear the horn tooting gingerly outside. I jump up, smooth my jeans down my thighs, slip on my jacket and head for the door.
A quick glance around the place, I hike my rucksack onto my right shoulder, pull the handle of the suitcase with my left hand and pull the door shut behind me. The fresh air hits me, and I smile at Cindy sitting in the passenger seat. She gets out of the car, and so does Greg, who effortlessly stashes my luggage in the boot.
‘As ready as I’ll ever be!’