Mr. Edwin handles the boxes with care





Twenty-seven. Ok.






Eighteen. One-eight.




The work is methodical, rhythmic. Mr. Edwin unhurried, steady. He moves with a grace and precision belying his relaxed manner. Carrying the boxes through the propped-open double doorway.

Music drifts, dreamlike, down a freshly-emptied hallway, echoing off the yawning shelves.

The unwelcome scent of mosquito spray, artificial, sweet, evocative of furniture polish, wafts and reinvigorates my headache. But it’s still better than mosquitoes.








Twenty-two. Got it.

I’m standing with a clipboard, a neatly arrayed hundreds chart of check-boxes. My red pen is poised, waiting for the next number to be called. He walks the boxes to the top of the stairs where the rest of his team travels up and down. I put a red ‘check’ next to each number he calls.

And suddenly, without notice, a lump arrives in my throat.

Tears well.

I’m flattened, for just a moment, by where we are. Where we have been.

Where we are going.

It’s cooler today, but these men still sweat.

They’ve earned it.

Do you load the heaviest boxes first or the light ones

I gather and ground myself with a question

Ah, lightest. Lightest

He responds with a smile

The large pile of boxes in the corner gradually fades to nothing.

We are, once again, faced with separation from our things, faced with sleeping in an empty shell, living out of suits, and cases.

Putting our trust in random humans and mysterious systems, all to get these boxes on a ship. Eventually, assuming all goes well, to the other side of the world.

Our apartment feels lighter. Less to transport in our baggage of emotions. We’ve crossed another hurdle, one more time, to prepare to once again make our way. To start fresh. And eventually, to make home.

It’s a deliberate choice to lead this life of transitions. For ourselves, for our boys. And so, there are comings, and goings, packings. Stowings.

Roughly a thousand days ago we found ourselves watching boxes head out the small cedar gate, under the drooping redwood branches, into the partially loaded truck.

We wondered aloud where this would take us, how it would challenge, change, and mold.

We’ve grown to love so much about this place, this space, this time in our lives. The now-familiar but never easy buildup to transition is frenetic, and pulsing, an overload of tasks and an overwhelm of feels.


As the packed-to-the-gills van slides around the corner and out of our sight

For now, we have a pause.

A final few days

To enjoy the stillness, revel in the cacophony.

Here, on the Gold Coast.

Share some goodbyes. And tears.

Locked inside these boxes, there is significance. There is movement. Transit.

We’re in Mr. Edwin’s hands, now.

Published by Radutti

Teaching in Ha Noi, screwing things up daily but surviving to write about it. ...everything's perfectly all right now. We're fine. We're all fine here now, thank you. How are you?

Join the Conversation


  1. Wow, I loved this! I loved it all the more because I have lived it- I moved last year (again) and vividly remember the feelings you so eloquently describe. Always hard to know what the next move will bring, but it is equal parts exciting and exhausting. I am happy that this summer I am just moving a few blocks away. Where are you headed next?


  2. I am a huge fan of your writing. Everything is descriptive and leaves me feeling, seeing, and being a part of the scenes you present. Thank you for sharing this piece that has a bittersweet tang. Getting lost in the details of moving but reflecting on the 1000 days- very emotional for me.


  3. Radutti this is another memorable piece. I am glad you were able to write this, “baggage of emotions,” at such a busy time. I just enjoyed it and made my own connections as I read. I love the style (single word lines that give it an imaginable feeling) and the use of figurative language, I was also “overwhelmed with feelings'” as I read. Parting is getting more and more difficult, I am glad you have packed many thoughts about Ghana in your suitcase.


  4. Wowl! “locked inside these boxes, there is movement. Trahsit.” Thanks for preparing me for the day those boxes leave my home and carry with them the special props used in so many special moments. I am waiting for the tears to stroll down along the way. They started already reading your post. Enjoy the pause, listen to the echos and fill the now empty space with laughter and reflection.


  5. Thank you, thank you for sharing this special piece! This evokes emotions that only a few can identify. Thank you for sharing your space with us all over these years.
    I have confidence in your next adventure to bring so many good memories like Ghana did!
    Enjoy your last hours here, soak in all the beauty.


  6. A very special piece! I loved how you have aroused the senses of the reader in this piece. We appreciate the emotions and connections that come with the boxes: the things that bring in the memories.
    You lived your days well here in Ghana, you have become a big part of us and we celebrate you.
    May your next adventure be greater and more joyous. I can’t wait to read about them!


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