We were mostly looking at new homes, so they were all perfectly decorated and impeccably neat, which I also liked.
And even now as I look back I can feel my stomach doing flip-flops because the smell of freshly opened boxes means that life is going to change again. It means new friends and new enemies. It means something new outside my bedroom window. It means I won’t know the bus driver and I probably won’t fit in. Years have passed and many boxes opened and closed, but they still make me weepy.
Truth be told, I don’t really like new adventures. I like old, worn, sit on the same spot of the couch with someone you love kind of things. Because even though new is good sometimes, it’s still, well, newer.
As a sidebar I just got a flashback from my first day at a new school in Conneticut. I was in kindergarten and at lunchtime a teacher came out to the cafeteria and announced, “Miss Sandy is here with her sweet treats, kids!!! Come on in!!!”
Well hot DOG. I had a feeling I was going to dig this place. I ran to the back of the sweet treat train and braced myself for goodness.
I watched the kids go through the line and noticed that they only picked up one item each, so I followed suit. I kept trying to catch a glimpse of this Miss Sandy lady because she was single-handedly changing my kindergarten experience and I wanted to tell her I was happy to meet her.
As we got to the end of the line I noticed that the kids were handing something over to a woman who did not look a)sweet b)conscious or c)like the Miss Sandy of my five minute-long daydream.
And as the girl in front of me handed over her wad of cash, it dawned on me.
We had to pay. With real money. Which I didn’t have.
And because I like to be subtle (have you noticed?), I threw my muffin across the divider, turned and ran back to my table while several dozen children giggled and called me names that involved violence and pastries.
My mother gave me a crisp dollar bill the next day for sweet treat time, and I got an ice cream sandwich. It was divine, but it wasn’t any different than the one at the grocery store. It even came in the same wrapper. To this day I don’t know why they made it such a big deal, but it was an unfortunate kick-off to a school year. Later that same year I threw up in front of my entire class. For the record, it had nothing to do with the lunch selection.
Now I’m really having a hard time focusing because I can smell fresh boxes, ice cream sandwiches, and the smell of barf on velour. This is obviously going nowhere good.
Anyway, I’m not a fan of moving.
So today was a bit of a difficult day. And I really thought I had prepared myself, but I was wrong. I knew it as soon as I walked into the almost-empty house and felt my eyes get hot.
It wasn’t just anyone’s house, but my Audra’s.
And it’s empty because on Monday they are moving to Colorado Springs.
And it’s exciting and wonderful and all of those great things because I know God is faithful and they feel called to go there, but for me it just plain stinks. For those of you who are new to my blog, Audra has been my best friend since I met her in Buffalo almost 16 years ago. We have lived so, so, so much life together and it’s ridiculously hard to think about her not being in the same city as me.
And those stupid boxes did me in today.
It wasn’t the first time I had seen her with boxes. Once, it was because she was packing up to get away from a bad boyfriend. Another time we packed because she was coming to Nashville a year after me to start graduate school with me. There were boxes when she came to live with us, boxes when she got married, and so many others in between.
How do you measure the love of friends who have shared this many boxes?
I don’t know, or else I would have said it when I was stammering for words, crying as I pulled away from her house and watched her little girls run to her. I watched them being born and now I had to watch them carry piles of clothes up the long ramp into the moving truck.
I need to drown myself in sweet treats now.
Please pray for Audra, her family, and for what God has in store for them…and if you are in Colorado Springs and want to meet an amazing girl, I know of some boxes you can help unload.