The moment that marked the most recent change in my life was just over a year ago, right back at the beginning of 2013. It was the moment my partner knocked on the door of my cosy little rented maisonette and started to help me move just across town into a house of my own.
It was bitterly cold, and of course I wasn’t organised. The packing I’d done was a rather desultory effort, the cleaning non-existent, and we had, somehow, to cram my pots and pans and books and furniture and clothes into the van, then drag it all out at the other end.
When I’d moved in, the process was simple and slow. A box here, a bag there, then a few carloads of stuff moved in several trips. Now I had furniture, of sorts; a fridge-freezer and washing machine, a bed, a tiny sofa and coffee table – all sought out and bought at bargain-basement prices from crammed Aladdin’s cave charity shops; all except the original ’70s coffee table that had been passed (from new) from my parents to aunt and uncle, down to cousin, back to parents again, and finally to me in some kind of inverted, heirloom-based game of Pass The Parcel. When the music stops, add another layer of mug stains.
The table went into the van. Sofa too, and suddenly we had room to set out boxes. While I ummed and aahed about where to pack every single item, my wonderful, calm, organised girlfriend wrapped and packed and stowed the contents of my kitchen cupboards, then started on the books. When I came downstairs after dismantling the bed, my library was lined up in boxes by the wall and she was opening the package of sausage rolls she’d made that morning for our lunch.
Packing and loading the van took most of the afternoon, each “last few boxes” somehow leaving behind as many more as we had just got rid of, but eventually we were ready to set off.
Unloading was a slog; pure hard graft. We’d had enough. We were aching and tired, and wanted nothing more than to collapse into bed. Somehow, she kept going through to the last of the boxes. We ended the day with an empty van, and one room in my new empty house crammed to the ceiling with brown cardboard and up-ended furniture.
Without her, I’d never have moved. In fact, I’d not be nearly so settled as I am now. The thing that struck me most about that day, from the moment she arrived till the moment she fell asleep, was that she never stopped believing we could do it. She never stopped believing in me. That one simple thing has stayed with me through the whole year, and I don’t think I will ever forget it.
This post was written as an entry to the prize draw competition here, closing date Feb 6th 2014.