twelve

Emma drifted through her days. She drifted through the house.

The house was big, as well as clean, with things inside which she’d never had before. A walk-in wardrobe. An ensuite. A whole spare bedroom and absolutely nothing to do with it. The house was big, and strangely empty, because they had barely started to unpack.

Emma had barely started to unpack.

They had been there for months, and were still living out of moving cartons and suitcases, losing things and finding things and stepping around piles of boxes on the cool tile floors. They had their larger pieces of furniture, which had arrived with the moving truck, but everything else was still in cartons, because Emma couldn’t bring herself to start.

Mark kept trying to help, but Emma told him not to worry, she’d do it. And then she didn’t. She left everything in the moving boxes, and only took out what she needed, day by day. Mark thought it was a sign of something, Emma knew. That she wasn’t attached to new house, or didn’t feel the move was permanent, or whatever it might be. He thought that, but he wasn’t right. She didn’t unpack because she couldn’t decide where to put things.

Oddly, strangely, the decisions about where to put everything had begun to seem terribly important. All the decisions, one after the other, this shelf and this cupboard and this end of the lounge. So many decisions were needed that Emma couldn’t bring herself to start. She didn’t want to get it wrong. Unpacking was the only thing she had to do, while Mark worked and had a career, so it mattered terribly to her not to make mistakes. It mattered so much it seemed better to do nothing.

It was strange. She didn’t understand herself. She knew it wouldn’t matter if she had to rearrange the pictures on the lounge or reshelve the pantry. She knew that, but she still couldn’t bring herself to start, and she didn’t quite know why.

So instead, she drifted.

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