The boxes stand packed in the entryway like little sentinels at the bottom of the stairs. A hush permeates the house, which is unusual for this house. No one screeches down the hall or thumps up the stairs. No echo of shattering glass trills from the kitchen.
Olivia walks through the rooms one by one, checking to see that nothing has been forgotten. The rooms feel hollow without their furniture, stacked now in the garage, waiting for the moving truck. Olivia stops for a moment in each room and lets the memories wash over her. Sick nights sitting up with her babies. Bedtime stories with giggles. Roaring boys pretending to be tigers. She thinks of trudging the laundry up and down the stairs, of scrubbing the toilet in the upstairs bathroom. She remembers baby bath times and soap-sud mohawks.
The living room feels stuffed with the ghosts of Christmases past, with the shadows of football games, husband and boys cheering, and of fashion shows put on by her girls. The kitchen, though spotless now, to Olivia appears coated with flour, baking sheets arrayed on the island counter and the table, sprinkles everywhere— children running in circles trying to put icing on someone else’s nose.
Olivia pauses at the door to the garage and looks back into the empty house. She knows she will carry the memories with her, but still…
It is hard to say goodbye.
©️ 2021 Katie Baker