I hate moving. It's so freaking annoying having to pack up everything that defines you into cardboard boxes which are slung haphazardly into the back of a grimy van, driven round without any consideration from the driver and then stuffed into a new house where you have to unpack everything and try and make it fit in a new environment that is clearly not what you're used to, and be expected to call it home, as if the last house was never in your life, and all your memories have been in the new place that you've been in all of five minutes.
As I watch my hands put the last of my possessions into the cardboard box, I feel a long moment of pure anger and sadness. All my favourite photos, books, ornaments, even my favourite clothes are packed up in boxes. For the last month or so it's been boxes, boxes and more boxes. I put the last thing to be packed on a bit of newspaper, my tiny blue fairy ornament, and wrap it up with care. I put it in the box, seal it, and with a heavy sigh, pick up the heavy thing and lug it out to the front where a man takes it from me and flings it into the back of his big white van. It takes all my self control not to scream at him for his carelessness. I'll just have to hope that my ornaments survived the impact.
I turn and look at the house I'm leaving behind. Making sure my mum is not looking, I slip back inside and take one last look around. I see empty rooms wherever I look, I check the cupboards to make sure we've not forgotten anything. My footsteps echo down the laminated hallway, the bare light-bulbs above me looking naked and sad without the shades they'd had on since we first moved in. I go back to my room, and sigh again. I remember when I first got here, I was so excited and quick to claim this room as my own. I remember running in and pretty much lying on the floor and proclaiming to my amused family that this room, and no other, was mine. I moved my stuff in and named my room my nest, as everything I needed to survive (music, books and similar things) was all right here.
I smile as I remember the first time I got grounded in this room, I hid my favourite couple of books under my mattress as well as my chess set, my iPod and a few cheeky snacks before Mum took all my books and stuff away. I'd stayed in my room playing chess and reading books to pass the time, unbeknownst to my parents.
I remember my music wars with my sister, she's into stupid pop music, while I prefer modern rock. We turn our music up louder and louder, trying to drown each other out, but my speaker is louder than her little stereo, but she never gives up,even when she's lost. Mum normally shouts to get us to turn it down, and we laugh and she swears she'll take them off us, but she never does.
When I was told we were moving house, I couldn't quite believe it, even when we saw the new house and started packing. I've spent the whole getting-ready-to-leave-everything-we've-ever-known period in a slight disbelieving daze, hoping against hope that we weren't going and that this is just some well thought out, cruel, sick joke. Even now, as I look at my empty room, I'm hoping someone's going to jump out of my wardrobe and shout “You just got pranked by the prank patrol!” or something. But nobody does, nobody says a thing. It's just me, the empty house, and a whole load of memories that I've got to leave behind.
Mum calls up the stairs now, says she wants to leave, and I yell back asking for a few more minutes. Not waiting for an answer, I dig out a black permanent marker and walk over to the window, ducking under it and writing my name in capitals under the sill. Now this room will remember me... sort of. Glancing round one last time, I walk out slowly, closing the door behind me. I walk out of the house, get in the car, and look back at the house, whispering goodbye as it vanishes behind the hedges at the end of the street.
Mum insists I'll make new memories in the new place, and to stop moping, but I can't. Of the four of us, I'm the only one dreading this. I just nod and make neutral noises as my family prattle on around me, acting like it's no big deal, after all, it's only the rest of my life until I move out. It's only all my memories.
We pull up, finally, on the new drive. Sure, the house is nice, but it's not our old one. It's huge, with two gardens, and a beautiful view. My new room is at the back of the house, like my old one, and I follow my family inside half-heartedly, not sure where to go and hide, as my new room isn't my sanctuary if I don't know well. With silent horror I realise I'm stuck walking around the house with the rest of my family until our stuff gets here. Can this move get any worse?!
The van pulls up as Mum finishes looking around the new kitchen, and I gratefully go out to grab my stuff. But I'm given a random box by the van driver, and he nearly bites my head off when I say that it's not my box. I look at the writing on it and see that it's for the lounge. Great. With an angry huff, I get on with it, snarling at my sister as she tries to take my box to my room for me. Nobody touches my stuff, that is my rule, like it or not.
Several hours and what seems like a million boxes later, I finally get to start unpacking. My sister tries to get me to help her unpack by asking me really loudly in front of Mum, but the glare I give her is so cutting she doesn't try it again.
Call me vicious, but I've put up with a lot today, and I am at the end of my tether. I trudge up to my new room, and shut the door. I sit on my mattress, and look around the unfamiliar space. The walls are a pleasant blue colour, the window facing south, and the carpet's a cream colour. And I'm up to my neck in cardboard boxes. These stupid cardboard boxes that hold everything that is mine in their cardboard confines. My whole life is in these damn boxes, and now I'm having it back.
I stand up and open my ridiculously heavy book box. The book shelf is behind several more boxes, so I unceremoniously shove them out of the way and start putting my books on it neatly. When I'm done I open the ornaments box and put them on top. Seeing this small normality in the strange room makes me smile, just a little bit.
I reach for the next box when yet another familiarity hits me. Some cheesy pop song playing the room next to mine. Great, my sister's unpacked her stereo. I grin and dig through the boxes to try and find my speaker, then I plug it in and start playing my favourite Mayday Parade song just as loudly. It turns into a contest of who's can go louder, until Mum shouts up to try and quieten us down. Laughing, we turn them down again, but I make sure mine is slightly louder, just because I can. Huh. Maybe this new house isn't so different after all.
I chuckle at that thought and continue unpacking my life from all these boxes.