Lavender at home - Moved
Suppose you’ve just moved into a new house, and you get a note from a friend asking how you’re doing. You could say that the move went fine, and that the new house is nice, you like it very much. That it has three bedrooms and a kitchen with a big deck, and it’s convenient to work. That you expect you’ll be happy there.

But you haven’t said anything real, at least not yet. You’ve said what you think without saying what you feel. This might be fine if you’re writing to an acquaintance, but not if you’re writing to a friend.

Or, you could say that the move was easier than last time, when your ex-boyfriend, the one you were leaving, jumped town the day before, but his mother, whom you’d met only once but who asked you then whether you planned a large family, showed up to help and insisted on driving the moving van, even though she wasn’t registered as a driver. But that turned out okay because you ended up having a problem with the battery in your Subaru, so you got to drive her new Audi, but you spilled your latté in the car and it was a good thing you’d grabbed your sweater at the last minute, because you were able to get almost all of the latté off the leather seats before she arrived with the van. So it wasn’t like last time, and although you had to make a lot of trips you got it all done in one weekend, and there were no bruises.

You could write that the new place is surrounded by lavender and rosemary hedges, and that these remind you of a pensione in Fiesole where you stayed when your boyfriend came to visit midway through spring semester Junior year. You didn’t tell him then about the long weekend in Paris you’d spent with the guy from life drawing class who wanted to go into architecture, because it didn’t seem to matter anymore by then. And that you found yourself thinking about that pensione and about them both, those boys becoming men, on the first few mornings you took your tea out onto the new kitchen deck, as the sun steamed mist off the hedges. It must be something about the season, too, because the light is almost the same as that early April light in Tuscany, the light that makes you feel twenty years old.

But you know this feeling is fleeting, you’d say, because the days are getting warmer and soon it won’t be like that old spring anymore, that antediluvian spring before it all got started, and you’ve already noticed that particular memory receding a little more each morning as the new house becomes more about now and less about then, displacing associations of elsewhere, creating or starting to create its own significance. And if you roll your life forward in your mind five years, ten years, you see yourself walking barefoot onto another deck in another springtime somewhere else, where you’ll smell the rosemary and lavender hedges, and you know you’ll be transported back here, to this house. So you’re starting to see clearly how life stitches together, and how now is both now and the nostalgic future past. Moves do that to you, you say.

That’s what you might write to a really close friend.


Tags from the story
More from Meg Maker
“Isn’t it interesting who you meet when you travel?”
Read More
4 replies on “Moved”
  1. says: Lynne Walker

    LOVED this piece, Meg. It does what writing is supposed to do, bring up memories and images in the reader. Worked like a charm! Lynne

Comments are closed.