It was hot the day my life started. Absolutely vile. It was just a typical New Orleans summer day.
The alarm went blaring us awake at what seemed like a harsh time, seven am. But we had plenty of
things to do, things to pack, a truck to load. My boyfriend hit the snooze button and mumbled something about
going to work.
“Dear, you quit three days ago. It’s moving day, remember?” I reminded him.
Miranda stretched from her usual sleeping spot at the foot of the bed and looked at us with “FEED
ME NOW” plainly in her eyes. “Merowl?”
“Sorry, cat, no wet food for you today.”
Almost right on cue, the phone rang, jarring us more awake. Knowing who it was I answered, “Hi,
Mom, we’re awake, we just need to get dressed. Come on over and we can pick up the truck.”
My mother picked me up and we drove to the U-Haul place. We were quiet on the drive over. She
was trying not to cry because she didn’t want to see me leave, and I was a bouncing ball of energy
because I couldn’t wait to get on the road.
At the U-Haul place, they showed me all the ins and outs, where everything was and all the
emergency things for driving on the road. While excited, I was nervous, as I had never driven anything
bigger than a large car at this point. I had a few questions and really just wanted some assurance that I
really could drive this huge thing across the country.
Driving back to the apartment, I fiddled with the radio to find the weather. 98 degrees with 90%
humidity. Typical Labor Day weekend weather.
A former co worker of my boyfriend’s had shown up to help us pack. It felt strange, that I was leaving the city
of my birth. I never thought that I would reach this point. And it was exciting to move to a city that I
had never been to before, with no job prospects in sight.
The cat was, by all around mutual agreement, locked away in the bathroom. She didn’t like strangers
and the bathroom was the one place where she would be out of the way. We didn’t need her to get loose
on a day like this.
The boyfriend and I had spent the last two days slowly boxing everything up. Labeled boxes and milk crates
were stacked neatly in the living and bedrooms. Looking quickly around I thought of how empty the
apartment already felt. We had spent the last year and a half here.
Thanks to the heat, we took breaks about every twenty minutes. Trying to load a 14 foot truck in 98
degree heat is something I swore I would not do again anytime soon. “Next time we get a hair up our
butts to move across country again, we’re paying someone,” I kept saying.
Finally we were done. We still had to walk over to the landlord’s office and turn in the keys but
decided that a quick lunch from the corner sandwich shop was in order. The boyfriend went to get lunch for
everyone and I cranked up the A/C. Miranda at this point was in her carrier howling. Rightly, so, she was one pissed off cat.
Two friends of ours showed up to say a final good bye and the six of us sat around as the boyfriend and I
remembered all that we had been through during our 18 month stay. We told stories of the
neighborhood kids who thought the pool next door was public and I told the story of the boyfriend’s first
encounter with the notorious New Orleans flying roach.
It was time to go. We stood in the doorway and looked around one last time. “It’s so small,” I
said. “How did we cram all of our stuff in here?!”
Mom of course had to take pictures. We both looked quite nasty I’m sure from sweating so much but
she insisted. “When am I going to see you again?!” She wailed.
Final goodbyes were said and we climbed into the truck. I started the engine and with a final wave, I
shifted into drive and pulled out into the street.
934 miles north, in Chicago, my life was waiting for me. I couldn’t wait for it to start.