I once read something about this airport, where on New Year’s Eve they auctioned off the mountain of unclaimed suitcases they’d collected over the year.
People would gather in one of their plastic surfaced waiting areas, chatty and perfectly composed, sipping champagne out of plastic flutes, resting their evening wear in lively coloured plastic chairs, inspecting each and every suitcase with expert eyes, as they were making their way down the plasticky baggage carousel.
Nothing was opened. You’d bid based on the shine of the leather, the agglomeration of scratches scarring the fabric, the amount of care original owners had taken to make their luggage stand out. Bright ribbons, stickers, “Put it back, it’s mine!” tags. Eventually you’d pick one and take it home with you, a piece of someone else’s life you’d have to break open with a dangerous tool, a screw driver or a heavy chisel, as family and friends cheered you on, champagne bubbles in the air.
I’ve been unpacking for days.
There’s little element of surprise, as I’d labeled every box in so much detail that they might as well all be transparent or each come with attached Excel inventory lists several pages long.
But there’s something absolutely delicious in unwrapping and introducing each and every trinket you’ve ever owned to your new home.
“Here, this is where you’ll be sitting. A comfortable enough little surface, don’t you think? There’s natural light, plenty of other trinkets to make friends with and a bird’s eye view of the living room.”
I repeat the ritual with every object I unpack, working at getting myself used to the new state of things. This is our living room. This is where we’ll be sitting. This light, it’s ours.
Who knew happiness, very much like heartbreak, takes time getting used to. I sit on a cushion on our living room floor, listening. We haven’t got a sofa yet, a proper mattress, shelves for my books.
Our happiness though, it’s growing leaves and flowers.