To 2017-2018
​Moving Van

By Audrey Hirshberg 

  1. Untitled
    By Hannah Brewer
It was locked. Sealed shut with a deadbolt no one could unhinge. A ten thousand digit combination the greatest mathematician couldn’t even begin to guess. Nailed shut with planks of plywood which crisscrossed over it with abandon. And whenever a sliver of light had the slightest chance of entering, it was buried even deeper inside, just to be safe. She wasn’t taking any chances. Especially after the first time.

It had been a warm summer day, unlike any other, except a moving van had chugged down the street in her direction, seemingly pushed back every so often by startling waves of heat. She shifted positions in her lawn chair, her thighs making a sucking sound as they broke away from the plastic they’d been adhered to for the past ten minutes. She could feel the beads of sweat rolling slowly down her spine, making the journey from the nape of her neck to the small of her back where the sun hit the hardest.

He appeared from the back of the moving van, unloaded along with the dusty old furniture. In comparison to the moth-hole ridden, faded futons and footstools he appeared youthful and alive, bringing light to the somber pallet of dark hues. She remembered now that it looked strangely half empty, as if only a portion of his former life had been brought along with him. But maybe that was her inner pessimist coming out, she thought in retrospect. He looked around, his eyes slowly scanning the perimeter of his new environment, his new home, when his eyes drifted over to hers.

From there it was a whirlwind. Before long, she knew everything there was to know about him. They felt like they’d known each other in a past life, one long forgotten but brought to life upon their meeting, like a feeling of contentment after a deep sleep. She felt like she knew him better than she knew herself, better than the sky’s constellations that had been etched into her mind ever since her father had pointed them out to her so deliberately so long ago, his hand grasping hers as they outlined their path across the sky together. She cherished that feeling, one of absolute contentment and ease in knowing she was completely comfortable in his presence. Nothing would have surprised her more than if they didn’t spend the rest of their lives together that way, simply marinating in the feeling of well-being that they got from being with one another.

But she received that surprise, and wondered if she had miscalculated everything she ever thought she knew. Once again a moving van chugged down her street, this time unhindered by the summer heat and instead surrounded by the changing leaves of spring. It had been almost a year since a van of a similar likeness had taken the same path, but this one was sent to carry a life away instead of deliver.

She returned home from school that day, excited to once again be in the warmth of his company, when she saw a house cleared of belongings, devoid of the light he brought along with him. There was nothing left but a forlorn For Sale sign, stuck into the warm spring earth dejectedly, already covered by the loose flower petals the wind had strewn across the street.

Her feeling of abandonment was unmatched. It had happened before; when he left her and her mother she thought she would never open herself up to anyone again. But he had come into her life when the ice around her heart had just began to thaw, the water dripping down her ribcage and leaving the cavity tender and raw. But the wound was ripped open again upon his leaving. Unconsciously she once again began to erect the fortifications around herself, closing herself off from the rest of the world and the untold pain and suffering it inevitably brought along with its pleasures and bliss. And it all began with the arrival and departure of a moving van.