Starting over was what she did all too often. Scrounge for boxes, pack up stuff, tape and seal, haul and load, clean and leave.
Then reverse the process, arrive and clean, haul and unload, rip open, unwrap, and unpack. Then the decision: store the flattened boxes for the next inevitable move, or recycle them and scrounge again when the time came. Neither decision carried any assurance, or saved any work.
Sooner than she’d want she’d be back at it, finding boxes, packing, taping, hauling, loading, cleaning, leaving. Once again, she’d find herself arriving, cleaning, unpacking, starting over, settling in very lightly.
Starting over was something she’d have earned a degree in if it were a college major. She should be a pro by now, but she wasn’t.
She had always dreamed of a settled, permanent place called home. But she refused to admit it out loud. The disappointment would be more tangible if she did.
The first few months after starting over she resisted putting out personal effects, choosing instead to leave them in boxes, stacked and stored. She certainly wouldn’t hang curtains or put up pictures. That jinxed things immediately.
It was what they did. It was the path they had put themselves on years ago. It wasn’t really running. It was simply not staying.
Planting something in the yard all but guaranteed there would be a move before the plant came full circle, bloomed, self-seeded, volunteered again the next season.
In a way she was a wildflower seed, except she was the seed that blew across the top soil with a breeze and landed far down the road, in an unpredictable, unusually rocky untilled soil. Waiting for dust, rain, a thin grip on ground so she could grow clingy roots.
It was wearing her out. She wanted to stop.
Maybe someday she would say it out loud. “No more.”
Sure she would.
There was never any choice anyway. Saying “no” would make no difference in the outcome.
Someday, yes, someday she’d get planted deeply and stay forever. Then she might flower. Then she would rest.
But that wasn’t likely to happen for a long while. And so, she continued starting over and starting over and starting over.