It was moving day and it was predictably chaotic. Since the movers had first arrived, they had not stopped other than a mandated smoking break before taking the couch, which had been wrapped in plastic, and loading it against the left wall of their formerly empty truck. Beds, television sets, and the entire dining room set had been loaded into the truck before any of the children had finished packing their rooms. The furniture was gone, and then it was the boxes.
Each contained a makeshift label, written in the mother’s tender, womanly scrawl. The boxes which were labeled “kitchen” were the first loaded: the night before, the mother had finished wrapping all her porcelain plates, her most precious possessions. The children had been happy, as the boxing of all the kitchen supplies meant that the family had ordered pizza for dinner. They broke from their moping to enjoy eating their collective favorite food, as the entire family laughed and talked about the old house, and all the memories that happened inside it.
Under the father’s watchful direction, the movers finished with the rest of the kitchen, saving the boxes labeled “fragile” until the very last into the large truck. They began to move the boxes from storage and from the living room, which was a quick and orderly affair. Next came the master bedroom, and each of these was meticulously labeled by the father, with specific contents written underneath the words “master bedroom.” He had taken his time with each of them while directing his wife to his organization pattern. He told her he wanted to make sure that he knew where everything was, because he couldn’t be worried about things missing while starting his new job.
The children’s rooms were the last to be loaded, each done by the children themselves, some with parental oversight. The teenaged sons were unlabeled, crammed into various boxes without any real worry what was in there, with the valuable or important things on the bottom. The middle child, a girl, had hers in a style reminiscent of her father’s: organized, labels within labels, all the things a preteen girl would care about in her preteen life. The youngest boy had his mother’s help. She had labeled all of it, and had taken the time to ask him, before the pre-move garage sale, to sort which toys he no longer played with, or no longer wanted. He had complied, but it had taken him much longer than his mother would have like: each toy was a memory that he treasured in his 6-year-old brain. He cried some, as his mother tried to comfort him, but eventually got over it: his new room would be bigger, and his mother talked endlessly about the new things they would be able to have.
His room was the last loaded, as he had wanted some of his favorite toys with him in the car on the drive to their new home. He had packed these prized possessions last, carefully in various shirts, like he had seen his mother do with her fine china. His father called up to him that he needed to be ready, and the child ran downstairs with the final box, tripping and almost falling. He clamored into the family van, behind his brother whose Gameboy was already lit up. He waved to the old house with his mother in remembrance, but a new house awaited him. He would make more memories in that new house, like running through its backyard with his first dog, and kissing the neighbor girl under the pine tree in the front yard. The new house he would never forget, but the old one? He already had.