Day 160 – Goodbye

This is familiar.

Word count: 630

In her hand, Zoe clutched her keys. They were bound together by a little key ring her mum had given her when she had first moved in. On a bright, sunny yet cold morning in June, Zoe was standing in threshold of her flat. It was completely empty and stanch of bleach and air freshener. It was completely empty. It was not just a flat, not a home.
All her belongings were in boxes, stacked in the car, at friends and in storage. Little pieces of her teenage hood had been thrown away to charity shops, bins and to recycling. All those tiny, insignificant pieces of junk that she had hoarded had to go. There was no room for them anymore, even if it pained her to scrunch them up and throw them in a black bin bag. Three days ago her room, her life was all laid out on the floor, on the bed and in the hall. All her clothes, all her university work. Twenty one years of her life had been summed up in mini skirts, odd socks, pencils, dresses-now-too-small, miscellaneous wires, scraps of paper with stickmen comics on them from late night study sessions, CDs of bands she had forgotten she liked, tickets to gigs from so long ago, wigs from fancy dress parties and the tops of pen lids, scattered like dead bodies in a warzone across the carpet. At the time it was painful, but now that the packing had ended, it was all just vacant of rational emotion.
Zoe could not quite define her sadness. Was it the loss of all those little skirts she’d never wear again? That one sock that had lost its partner, the funny one with the slogan that she’d bought that January sale with her sister? Was it the fact that she would never come here again. There would be no more lazy lie-ins and late sleeps in that bed; no more quick showers or long baths in that bathroom; no more crazy kitchen fiascos with burnt toast and fire alarms, recovering off milk from the fridge or screaming at her flatmates in their heated arguments. This was it. This was the last time she would be here. Never again would she drag a heavy bag back from the shops up these clinical stairs. In a few minutes time she would be driving out of the city, with no intent to return. All these happy memories that had been created here were slipping away and as she clutched on to the keys at the edge of the front door into her flat, she strove desperately to keep just a twinkle of that spirit that had kindled her childhood until the brink of its death.
Graduation had come. Graduation had gone. Four short years of partying, friends and stress: what had seemed at aged ten would take a lifetime to achieve was now here. Zoe remembered telling her mum at eleven that she would want to be married and have children at twenty-two because that would be a nice age. How had she changed so much without knowing, Zoe would never comprehend, but maybe she did not have to.
Outside in the car, her dad tooted the horn. It was time: time to let go, time to scan for one last look and one last taste of something that would ultimately be lost to memory and nostalgia. Zoe stepped back from the door and watched as the door swung closed and the locked clicked into place with finality. Removing the key ring, she put the keys through the letter box and walked down to the car outside. Her dad smiled as she got into the car, stuff crammed between her feet.
“Goodbye,” she waved as they drove away, “Goodbye.”

~ by S.G. Mark on March 15, 2012.

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