Way back in the middle of November, five days before I left America, I packed a whole load of things into a cardboard box. My desktop computer -- the main machine for work, writing and communication -- was wrapped in extra clothing, along with a monitor and keyboard and all those other things you don't realise you need until you don't have them. I grabbed so many things that the box weighed almost 80 pounds, so I reinforced it with a second box.
This magnificent brown object was placed in the back of the car and Sarah and I set forth to a Polish parcel service which has an office in Philadelphia. The online price quote was too good to be true, and the woman in the office quoted me $103 dollars, just as the web site had predicted.
"Where will it go?" I asked; an odd question to ask an employee of a parcel service, and she felt obliged to inform me that Poland is not a third world country. To rewind a moment, I had investigated shipping freight by air, which is very expensive. I investigated shipping by sea, where the shipping companies will abandon your belongings at a sea port or an airport -- your choice. Now I was sending this Cardboard American Life to, well, Poland. I thought it worth asking where it would end up.
"We will send to the address on the box," she said. That address was Frank's house, so I gave her $103 dollars and genuinely believed I would never see me bits and bobs again.
Yesterday the doorbell rang and a young thin Eastern European man with a bald head and a white van told me I had a parcel from Poland. My box. The box I last saw when Sarah and I drove into Philadelphia and dropped it off.
I don't care about the contents. Not really. All I cared about back in November was Tyson and getting him safely to Milan airport, but now I am filled with a sad joy at seeing the cardboard box that I bought at U-Haul out near Charlie and Cecily's house. I remember dragging this heavy brown object as being one of the last things that Sarah and I did together. We went to McDonalds on the way back. We had a day out. The box has made me sad all over again. I miss her. The contents do not make me sad. The object does.
Moving with my dog to Slovenia.