The container came today. The love seat, the beds, the vases, boxes marked “souvenirs”, none was scratched.
The men came at 8:30, reminding me of how punctual you were, too. They covered the floor and wrapped the stairs. Your crew left their shoes outside of our apartment.
Not like your people, who spoke almost in whisper, these men were loud and laughed heartily. They made fun of each other as they unpacked the furniture you wrapped on the driveway. They put their knives in the back pocket, your men held the blades between their lips.
As I promised, I asked the movers whom you called, “the American people”, what they thought of your crew’s packing. Joel unwrapped my pagoda lamp
that you wrapped in layers of white cloth, as if it was a broken arm, then boxed, then crated. He shook his head and said, “The Asians sure know how to pack. They are crazy.” Sean thought the boxes made to match the shape of the chair was great. Please make sure you tell Rombo who singled-handedly made all of them in silence.
Oh, DJ liked your hand writing on the boxes. He said they were “very neat”. I told him you were the only one in the crew of seven who can speak and write in English, because you came from the Philippines. You were the head of the crew and was bossy at times, but you told me that you still feel different working among the locals after so many years. You told me you ordered from a menu, ended up getting three bowls of noodles, because you don’t read Chinese but you wanted to pretend you did. “It is too hard to learn writing.”
I still remember you and your crew taking a nap in the stairwell after lunch,
behind a temporary wall made by the boxes that arrived here today. Just like today, it was in the 90s and all of you were sleeping in that damp heat outside of our apartment. It wasn’t customary for the shipper to buy you lunch so I didn’t. It made me feel much better when I tipped your crew and said, “This is for dinner.” Honestly, I didn’t know what to say and how to say it without hurting the pride.
The crew here didn’t nap. We ate Subway foot-longs at our table that they just put together. Normally, they ate out on the truck. But it was so hot I asked them to eat in. They told my kids, “Study hard and get good grades, you don’t want to be a mover when you grow up. It is a hard job.” A few stories they told reminded me that every trade has its amazing insight.
I woke up last night, worrying about where to put all these stuff. I even thought if the shipment sank in the sea, I would be OK. But I would be heartbroken, to tell you the truth. I need none of them, alright, but I’m glad they are intact.
Every piece holds a memory of two happy years in a place I never thought I would ever visit.
I realize now life is made up by moments lost and found, things that come and go, things we want to keep but cannot hold, and things we want to lose but cannot get rid of.
Thank you, Jimmy.