The packers have just left our home. I am surrounded by walls of cartons and shrink-wrapped furniture. Twenty three years of memories. Some dusted, cleaned, masking-taped and  neatly sorted. Some beyond repair and so dumped. I’ve never felt so cold here. I lean against a wall and listen. I hear Sandy and me, little school girls rushing in the morning as mom yells that we’re going to miss the bus. We’re all watching ‘Laurel & Hardy’, laughing as Ollie grumbles to Stan, “ Here’s another fine mess you’ve gotten me into.’ Wake up Friday noon and hear mom clanking and banging pots and pans in the kitchen. Dad’s juicing oranges. We’re barbecuing chicken in the garden and laughing. Pitter-patter of Poncho’s feet as he stumbles into our  bedroom to be tucked in. Dad playing instrumental ‘go-to-sleep’ music every morning. Arguments and giggles over nothing.

Four sets of sofas changed. Five fresh coats of paint. Flowers bloomed and withered.

Why can’t four walls just be four walls?