The 26’ UHaul Super Mover occupied more than its fair share of the street outside 4117A Cleveland. With some doing, my dad had pulled it in perpendicular to our front porch so that furniture and boxes could be moved on board with relative ease, eliminating as much stair ascension and descension as possible. My parents had drafted a small army of able, if not so willing, volunteers to assist in packing, cleaning and heavy lifting. They occupied nearly every corner of the house, providing an impenetrable line of defense against the years of accumulation that were due for transport to a new nesting place.
I was in stealth mode, ducking in and out of the shadows of as yet undiscovered impedimenta that, had she known about them, would have registered deep, frustrated sighs from my mother. I made the executive decision to avoid alerting her to their presence. In the basement, in the attic, I filled time by stealing kisses and timid, all too intense touches from my doomed-to-be ex-boyfriend. With so many hands on deck, we’d only be in the way. Besides, I wanted nothing to do with progress toward moving to Chicago. Any distraction from the tears that flowed in the presence of other friends was welcome. I wasn’t aware, then, that it wouldn’t be the last time I’d use this ignorantly blissful and thoroughly ineffective tactic.
The last time I saw Jessi as an official St. Louis resident, I had to physically rip myself away from her and run away from her father’s car as it pulled away. If the heart makes a sound as it’s being ripped from your chest, it’s too often the slamming of a door, the roar of an engine, the amplified smack of lips on your cheek accompanied by the word “goodbye”.