I walked out of my office feeling free and rejuvenated. I knew I had to go back to complete some formalities, but at the moment, it felt glorious to be out.
I had no idea what was coming next.
“Pack, of course” My father had said, leaving me with the daunting task of wrapping up my belongings.
I enlisted Pia to help around and we got right to it.
It took us one week to pack up the pieces of my life that I wanted to take with me. The rest of the stuff was either going to charity or to the dump yard.
While packing my clothes, I found a cardigan which belonged to my sister.
I held her cardigan close to my cheek; old as it was, I couldn’t bring myself to throw it.
When we were kids, I used to wait for an occasion to wear her clothes. Somehow, she always had better clothes or maybe I just thought they were better because they were hers.
I folded it neatly and kept it aside. Soon, I came across a t-shirt which belonged to her. I was never going to fit into it anymore. Maybe Pia can wear it, I convinced myself and folded it.
Ultimately, I realized I hadn’t thrown anything of hers. But I didn’t want to. It was a part of my life I wanted to hold on to.
I finally finished packing and stood back to see my handiwork. To tell you the truth, the apartment looked more like a home now, with Pia around, even though it was completely bare. Her constant chatter and running around was making the apartment come alive.
“What should I label this box?” Pia was pointing at the box containing her mother’s things.
I hesitated, wondering how she would react if I told her the truth.“Those are your mother’s things Pia..” I said carefully.
Pia touched the box reverently and then proceeded to write “Not to be opened.” on it. I didn’t question her. Those things belonged to her now. And if she didn’t want to open it, I wasn’t going to force her to either.
“All packed?” My dad had just returned from the garage. The car had been given one thorough check.
I nodded. We were ready to leave. One last stop at my office and we headed off in the direction of my parent’s town.
Pia settled down in the rear seat and I sat in the front with my father. All my things had been stuffed into the boot. Nobody spoke as we left the city for the final time. Each of us thinking about what was in store for us.
After some time, my father increased the volume of the radio and started lip syncing. He was trying to break the awkwardness in the car. I chimed in and encouraged by us, Pia joined in. Laughter erupted as we tried to keep up with the rap that was being played on the radio.
The journey was a long one and I suddenly realized that my father had driven while coming too. That was a lot of driving for a man his age. I suddenly felt guilty for putting him through this.
“Why didn’t you just call me?” Pia was fast asleep now and it was safe to broach sensitive topics.
My father said nothing, merely smiled.
“You could have just told me to come and I would have.” I didn’t believe the words myself.
Finally, I gave up the pretence and said what I really wanted to say, “Thanks for doing this dad, thanks for coming back for me.”
My dad placed his hand over mine and said, “This wasn’t my idea Khushi.. It was Pia’s…”