I packed my books into banana crates—or boxes, whatever you call them. They’re supposed to be stronger than regular cardboard boxes, you know, cause they’re made to carry a lot of bananas. My college roommate told me this while she sat in our dorm, drinking tea—I don’t know if it’s true. She also was a lesbian without knowing it, but I would never judge her for either thing. We never really connected. Not because she was/is a lesbian, I really do have lots of lesbian friends. It’s because one time, I didn’t have enough quarters to finish my laundry so, I strung my jeans, pajamas and underwear from the post of my bed to the corner of my dresser. I apologized when she came back from class. She said, “Uh…no worries” and left. Nevertheless, from then on, I only moved using banana boxes.
I put all of my books into banana boxes and hurled them into the trunk of my 2000 Buick Le Sabre. I’m a small person, so when I lift things, I have to use my body weight and whatever kind of momentum I can get. Sometimes it works. The boat rocked a little from the weight of the books, and I saw the back end sink down a couple of inches. What a weird kind of car. I bought the barge from my mom’s ex-boyfriend, Tracy. It had never been driven across the state, and I thought, yeah, this’ll get me where I need to go.
All of my books were mostly plays, old scripts, and self-help books. Shakespeare’s Complete Works, Lucky Man: A Memoir by Michael J. Fox, Stella Adler’s book: The Art of Acting, and um, Body for Life, etc. Think and Grow Rich was one. Milk and Honey. I never read the memoir. A few of my journals made it in there, along with a book of inspirational quotes, and a Spanish pocket dictionary.
I’ll admit, I was the kind of person that had way too many books, and also hadn’t read them all. But not like, because my reading list was so long. It was more of an, I’d like to be someone that reads, but I don’t really like it that much, and also will this book make me look smart, kind of a thing. Yes, I did read. But not as much as my bookshelf made it seem like I did.
I don’t know when that started, me wanting to seem smart. I mean, I read The Twilight Saga front to back, so that doesn’t make any sense at all. It could have been when I accidentally said, “Nancy Peloski”, while drunk at a friend’s birthday party. Or, it could have been in 7th grade when I scored a hole in one in mini golf and yelled, “Glory hole!”. Regardless, I had to bring every book I owned. Even if it meant my trunk would sag. I was attached to them, dragging them around—even the ones I hadn’t read, like a dude who says he’s afraid of commitment, fucks you, and keeps telling you he’s afraid of commitment. With every bump in the road, I could hear the books bounce and land and shift and cry. Sorry, baggage is very serious. We all have so much of it.
There were a few special things I also wanted to take with me: letters from friends, old playbills, a necklace, birthday cards, my high school journal, a half-marathon bib, a few old pennies, and a letter from my mom. I put them in a shoe box. It feels very weird to look through everything you own and separate what you’ll need from what you won’t, as if you know what you’re getting into. I mean, it’s not like you can bring everything.
I rolled up my yoga mat and fit it into the corner of my trunk; stuffed in my suitcase, pillows, hangers, bath towels. Once I got all the rest of my sh*T into tubs, I tetris-ed them into the back seat of my car. Like a boss, I was able to fit everything in, giving up the use of my rear window in the process. I hung a new air freshener and put the mixed CD my boyfriend gave me in the glove compartment next to the tape player.
When I turned on the car, it was raining. I sat for a second and closed my eyes. I listened to the rain lightly tap the hood of my car and thought about how I couldn’t look back if I tried. Literally, the rear window was completely blocked. I watched the water collect and wiggle down my windshield like awkward line dancers. After adjusting my mirrors a few times to try to cheat the view, I eventually gave up, chugged a bottle of water, and didn’t cry at all. The passenger seat next to me had three paper bags stuffed with the groceries my mom force-gifted me before I could drive away. I opened a bag of carrots and thought about how they’re supposed to help improve your sight.