How To Watch Your First Friend From a New Place Move to an Even Newer Place

Run late. Give her a hug. A big hug. Listen to her cry a little bit. Feel that it’s not quite that time, even though you probably could.

Go into her apartment. See the place where you spent one of your first drunk nights in town now completely empty. Watch her move into the bathroom and start ferociously packing and scrubbing. Ask her if she needs help. Hear her say, “No I got it.” Remember what it feels like to say that when you’re standing in your still-grimy bathtub, anxious, exhausted and scared.

Listen to her indecision: “Do I throw this away?” Answer an empathetic, “You can always buy another!” Watch an old soap dish get thrown into a trash box and later, pulled back out.

Get a little bored.

Start to poke around. “Do you need these clothes folded?” “Do you want this stuff cleaned?” “Where do these shoes go?” Find a bunch of food in the refrigerator. “Hey do you know there’s still a bunch of food in here?”

Pour everyone glasses of Franzia. Eat discovered Peanut M&Ms. Make small talk with other moving friend, Don. “So where are you from again?”

Watch her get flustered when the bathroom is finished and she moves into the bedroom, only to find the small heart-shaped tin of her mother’s cremated remains. “What do I do with these?” she asks. “Don…?” you call through the open door.

Help Don move stuff out to the car. Wonder if everything will actually fit. Be generally skeptical.

Finish off more wine. Laugh with more mover friends. Feel bad for feeling a little tipsy when you see her getting worried or sentimental.

Step out to check just how much space is left in the trunk. Catch the stars in your periphery, and feel the stillness of an instance alone amid a moment of change. Remember what it feels like to be the center of that moment, and realize now that this is not for you. Reposition yourself on the outside. Remember what you would want to hear, how you would want to hear it. Remember what it feels like to say goodbye to something meaningful. Walk back into the apartment.

Swallow and skeptically tell her she might have to ship some shit. Shove down the tops of suitcases, harass zippers and renegotiate backseats. Realize everything’s gotta go.

Silently Swiffer the last of the linoleum and watch her check every closet, every drawer. Throw away the last of what’s left.

Help her shut off the last light and shut the door. Take a picture of her in front of it.

Take whatever she wants you to take and shove it in your own car. Watch her realize that there might not be enough space, but feel adamant that everything has to go. Watch her make it work.

Stand at the bottom of her stairs for the first and final time and hug her. Hear her start to cry and know that this is when you will, too. Don’t try to hold it back. Tell her she has nothing to worry about, that she’ll be great and that if she does anything there like she did here, well, how could she go wrong? Tell her you don’t know what you would have done without her, or what you will do now that she’s gone.

Don’t tell her that she’s the closest thing to home you’ve had since you’ve been here.

Watch her hug Don and try to take a picture. Realize when it’s time to drive away. Wave goodbye from a rolled down window as your drive away.

Roll it up. Cry.

Take whatever she gave you and put it in your own place. Remember she’s gone. Wonder if you could have done anything else. Say goodbye again to yourself.

Drive home. Feel the quiet of the night creep through the cracks in your car. Feel alone. Feel quiet. Remember her.

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