>Packing Up

by Brendan Strong

>One thing after the other, is how I’ve been going on for some time now. Work, home, Emily, Jennifer. Eat in between. Drink also. Watch some DVDs, read books. Too much TV.
This weekend, we started packing up the apartment for the Big Move to Kilcullen. This was something we had discussed and weighed up and considered for quite a while. Then, we took the plunge. Now we’re in the middle of legal documents and surveyors reports and mortgage loans. Scratching our heads, we go on.
Until we started packing. Then, the paperwork, phonecalls, questions and answers took on an all-to-actual reality. It’s no longer rarefied, in the abstract – it’s realized, in the action. A strange thing happens when plans go into effect. For one thing, they change constantly – oh, this won’t work, let’s try it another way… And then there’s the whole ‘best laid plans’ thing. Poor Emily contracted some kind of virus. To the doctor with her! The doctor smiled and said “Well, I don’t want to prescribe antibiotics when she’s so healthy. Perhaps see if she can weather it out herself. If she gets worse, bring her back in.” I agreed, with my vast knowledge of virology (BBC News reports on the dangers of overdoing antibiotics). My first experience as the hassled father, looking out for the best in his child.
Back at the apartment, we prepared boxes for packing. Books here, clothes in bags, cutlery, crockery. My sister in law drove up with a cargo of boxes, bubble wrap and tape to help us out. Then we pulled out drawers and emptied out cupboards. Starting the process of moving out. Out, out, out. Out, DVDs! Out, spare linen! Out, ornaments and artwork!
It would be easy to get sentimental. Let’s just go with: Out, Bren, Jen and Em! We all felt uneasy. All that dreaming, all those happy moments and all the symptoms of a viral infection saw to that. Preparing to oust ourselves to Kilcullen, where our lives shall continue – but in a new vein.
I thought when we first bought this apartment that it was the start of a new life. I thought when we were engaged it was the start of a new life. I thought when we married, and returned here that it was the start of a new life. I thought pregnancy was the start of a new life. I thought bringing Emily home was the start of a new life. After all of these I finally learned – there is no new life. There are changes. Life continues apace, but in another vein. You do new things. You find new ways. Whatever happens, you must go on, to use Beckett’s phrase.
So, with five years times two plus four months packed away into boxes, here we are. Watching Noel Edmunds on TV, humiliating the desperate by showing how much less they know than children. Watching a little girl, recovering from illness show a stuffed tiger what’s what.

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