I have five hairbands around my ponytail. Because that’s how many clean, still stretchy hairbands I found today while cleaning and unpacking.
I wish I had counted how many boxes I carried down three flights of stairs, and how many I carried back up. I wish I had weighed them too, but maybe it’s a good thing I didn’t. Right now, I want to know how many pounds I hauled, want to stand with my fists on my hips while my cape flutters behind me and shout out the figure proudly. In the middle of the haul, I think the number might have broken my back.
I packed up odds and ends that my sister left behind, stacked them in boxes and labeled them: “CANDLES and BREAKABLES” or “RUDOLPH and misc.”
I unpacked textbooks and old papers.
I made healthy deposits to the recycling bin. Most of those old papers were daily assignments that didn’t need my attention, except for some scrawled quotes from friends: “Hey, you. How’s your camel?” “Purple.” “Oh… I’m sorry to hear that.”
I took down the old curtains and replaced them with an aquarium-on-a-sheet that believed it was a shower curtain when it was hanging in the store.
I hung posters.
I found stacks of post-it notes that I don’t remember buying. The bright-colored, expensive kind that my roommate liked. My conclusion: they fell out of the sky while my family and I were packing up after graduation.
I found a thing. I don’t know what it is. It looks like the wand that Dopey the Dwarf would own if he was a fairy. Clear plastic handle, three-tiered yellow and blue squishy thing on the end. Mr. Ollivander is glaring at me for my inaccurate description. But it looks like a deranged fairy wand. Except to Neekers, who thinks it is some sort of cleaning tool. I showed her how it came apart in two pieces to reveal a hollow end where it could be filled with glitter or magic or the dreams that fall between your bed and the wall. She said it was probably a place to put soap.
The thing is hanging on my wall now, because it seemed like the kind of thing that I might need one day. I’ll put a warning sign over it soon, too.
There is more to do. It will wait until tomorrow. I am exhausted now. I’m not sure whether my thoughts are following each other in proper order or forming a drunk conga line.
I am happy. Sitting in a room that looks a lot more like it belongs to me than it did twenty-four hours ago. I’m not sure if it’s the bright colors of the fish on the walls, or the presence of old literary friends, or the magic hanging on the wall, but it’s whispering bold, honest things to my sleepy mind.
You belong here.
And that fish is up to something…