You unload box after box. You haphazardly assemble furniture on the run, chugging pickled tea. You realise your bookshelf is missing a crucial brace to hold it true – you resolve to leave it leaning until you can get another brace from IKEA. You put off perfect pantry planning for a later date. You place vases wherever there is a clear surface. You plug in the new kettle, microwave, toaster, at the nearest power socket.
You know, one day, it will be Home.
A week in you rearrange the pots on your balcony – the thyme and oregano die in the deep shade and from your overzealous watering, but the lemon balm thrives.
Within the fortnight you have changed the position of the futon. You have hung all the pictures, you have scrounged new ones to go alongside. You are developing quite the collection.
A month has passed. You spend an afternoon DIY-ing that old dresser you picked up from the dumpster at your old place. You admire the results, and yourself admiring them, in the dresser’s oversized mirror.
You wonder, after five weeks, how so much dust can gather in a bathtub.
You realise, in week six, it’s because you love that breeze sweeping through the apartment when you leave all the windows and doors open, the breeze that brings dust from the renovations across the road. You swipe the dust from the bathtub each week when you clean, because you love that breeze.
Two months in, you journey to Sydney, amongst other things, to go to IKEA and get a brace for that precariously leaning bookshelf. Homeward bound and just passed Sutton, you realise you spent $300 and forgot to buy the brace. Your bookcase reproaches you every time you walk through the front door and see it, leaning.
Nine weeks after you collect the keys, and after working from home grading papers and coordinating distance ed for two courses, you realise that the study is not working. You rearrange some pictures, put some fresh flowers in a jug, swap some cushions over, and it works again. But that rug, you think, that rug will need to go sometime soon. You resolve to workshop rug options another day, you must get back to work.
Between Christmas and New Year, your father comes over and braces your bookshelves with steel webbing from Magnet Mart. You walk in the front door, you see your bookshelf, braced true and straight. You, and your books, are home.