5:34 am is very early in the morning for me. This is my last morning in this house. The cats are nervous and determined that something awful is going to happen.
I have no particular memories of "last nights" in any previous houses, which strikes me as unusual considering I seem to make a big deal about symbolic moments. My move to this house, for instance, from the house where I lived with my dad happened so gradually and over such a long period that there was no particular "last night" -- I was already practically living here when we married, so moving my few pieces of furniture up seemed like a formality. Leaving my stepfather's house to live with my dad was a sudden thing -- Dad showed up with a truck, we loaded it, and I left. I barely remember the details. Previous to that, I was a child and although we moved to four different places, I barely remember any of it. One day I woke up somewhere and the next I was somewhere else.
So I'm feeling a little artificial making a fuss over this "last night", except that it keeps occurring to me -- last time I will make the through-the-dark trip to the toilet, last time I will watch these particular shadows over the ceiling, last time I will hear these noises -- that sort of thing. Some little drama director in my head is making these things significant when they were not significant to me before.
Perhaps it is that I am now more aware of endings and beginnings. The moments and boundaries that separate this part of a life from that part have significance mostly because I notice them. This is over. That begins. It might be the same awareness that comes to most of us as we age, when the endless time of childhood -- school days that lasted centuries until the bell rang, time divided up between Easter and birthday and Christmas -- gives way to the too short time of being an adult, when Easters and birthdays and Christmases seem to come rapid fire and we can't believe it's already spring, it's already summer, it's already a new year.
One more day of heavy duty packing to do. Stuff seems to squeeze from the pores of the house and line up, like desperate refugees clamoring for a place on the last airplane. We are jettisoning some -- the workbench will stay behind, as will the narrow cabinet where we store paints and such. We probably should have purged more deeply much earlier, but uncertainty made us unwilling. My piano is finally packed, but chances of it having a place in the new house are slim. I'd hoped to take lessons again. That seems unlikely now.
We trade one future for another, in between the last minutes we notice and those we don't.