Moving day

They’re the days when you’re completely between, when suddenly all the context is stripped away and it’s just – you. The living room: how many Sundays, games of cards with Dad at the table, seders, the brick wall accreting photographs of the spouses, the grandchildren. A new floor. The awkward angle of the ceiling, hell to scrape the original camo wallpaper off in 1979. This is the room where I told my parents I was going to marry Duston. The room where I saw my grandmother Jean for the last time. This is the room where I told Robin that Jenny had been killed.  How many double Jeopardy answers did we blurt out? How many games of Scrabble did Mom quietly crush us in? How many times did I sit on the couch with a wet cozzie on?

It’s hard to imagine now. It looks so generic. And Mom and Dad – thirty years older. My American parents, not the South African ones who raised me. Mom, steely, Dad - hmm, is that whimsy? Bemusement? Disbelief? Or is he just trying desperately not to break into his customary dimply toothy photo smile?