I am lying in bed. More accurately, I am lying on a mattress on the floor where my bed used to be because the bed itself has, like all the other beds in this house, been taken to bits ready for the movers who will be arriving first thing tomorrow.
I have to be up and out the house for 7.30am tomorrow because Natalie, a friend so goodhearted I’m sure no one could ever possibly deserve her, is coming over to help us move, after helping me pack this evening and then packing on her own when I had to disappear off to do bedtime.
I lived with Natalie for a year and up until I had Thea, it was probably the best year of my life. I met Ian that year, after telling Natalie in the front room of our shared house that I was going on a date with some guy from work. We invited him to the party we held to celebrate my moving in and that’s when we properly realised we liked each other. So that house held a lot of memories for me, but leaving there wasn’t hard (although I do miss living with Nat from time to time).
Leaving this house is HARD. We’ve been here for six years, which is the second longest I’ve ever lived anywhere, and I would guess the same for Ian too. Everywhere I look, there’s a memory. The bath I called my friends from to tell them I was engaged, and then a few years later sat on the edge of, staring at the results of a positive pregnancy test. The same bath I would haul my walrus-like pregnant body from, and then bathed my tiny daughter in for the first time once her weird shrivelled bellybutton thing had fallen off. Neither of us will ever bathe in that bathtub again.
Her bedroom, with the Winnie the Pooh decal and the olive and fawn walls I painted with Ian and our tall friend Si, after Wadey and Lisa helped us take out the sorry excuse for a bathroom to turn it back into a bedroom.
The back bedroom, where I storm off to if Ian and I have a disagreement and wait for him to come see if I’m okay, and where I slept with Thea in a next-to-me cot for the first few months.
Our room, where I once broke down in tears when I thought we couldn’t have babies, and then some time later woke up one morning certain I was pregnant. (I was.)
The kitchen where I have shared cups of tea with all my nearest and dearest. The lean to that housed our first pets, guinea pigs Bret and Jermaine.
The garden, where we held Thea’s first birthday party, where I sat drinking gin and tonics in front of the fire pit with my oldest and dearest friend Alana, where I grew beans and rhubarb and tomatoes.
I sat out there earlier, trying to remember it all as it is now (quite untidy, honestly) and Ian said, “come in now and help pack.”
“Give me one more minute,” I said. “Tell me what you’ll miss about the garden.”
Ian looked round thoughtfully.
“I’ll miss what a manageable size it is,” he said decisively. Knob.