Alison Berkley Margo: The Princess’s Palate
The Aspen Times
Aspen CO Colorado
I sold my condo yesterday.
It happened just like that. The first person who looked at it ending up buying it, and they wanted it pronto. So we closed yesterday morning, and then yesterday afternoon, we moved out.
“Moving is the worst,” Ryan said, wiping his brow after he’d made his 10th trip up three flights of stairs with another heavy, awkward item, his chest heaving with his labored breath. “When they send people to prison, they should make them move, like, 100 houses a month – that would be a suitable punishment for any crime.”
“I know, right?” said our neighbor Wheaton. “Whenever someone asks me to help them move, I’m like, ‘What did I do?'”
I watched Ryan struggling with my foam-core mattress, which is heavy as hell and has no form, flopping this way and that like a dead body.
“Remember, honey? You used straps last time,” I reminded Ryan as he started growling at it.
Ryan is the nicest person on Earth, but when it comes to inanimate objects, he can get pretty nasty, yelling and swearing at the table corner that stubbed his toe or the plate that slipped out of his grip as if it’s a personal thing. It took some getting used to, but at least he’s not hurting anyone’s feelings.
Anyway, that foam-core mattress has been moved from my condo in the ABC to Centennial and then back to the ABC. We had left it for our tenants, so yesterday, it was moved up to the A-frame, where I truly hope, for Ryan’s sake, it has found its final resting place. He and our buddy John had to hoist it up over the deck off our second-story bedroom because the A-frame (as Ryan likes to call it) has a spiral staircase. While the spiral staircase makes me feel like a disco glamour queen (I always imagine I am wearing big hair and bell sleeves when I come down it), it is difficult, if not impossible, to get anything wider than your body up it.
After we emptied the last of the U-Haul and said goodbye to our awesome friends John and Sarah (any friend who is willing to help you move is a friend for life), I had the craziest thought: What if this is the last time I have to move, like ever?
I began to log all my moves: Connecticut to Denver for college; Denver to Summit County to drop out; Summit County to Steamboat to attend CMC and pretend to be in college; Steamboat to Boulder to really go to college; Boulder to Encinitas, Calif., to take my first real job; Encinitas back to Boulder to be with my college boyfriend; Boulder back to Encinitas because the boyfriend already found another girlfriend; Encinitas back to Steamboat and back; Encinitas to San Fran during the dot-com boom; San Fran back to Encinitas during the dot-com bust; Encinitas to Jackson Hole to escape a broken heart; Jackson back to Encinitas to escape a broken ego; Encinitas to Alma, Colo., to live with my bro when I had nowhere else to go; and then finally to Aspen, where I lived for 10 whole years before moving to Basalt.
I thought about all those dusty, scary storage units and decrepit U-Hauls and various too-small vehicles packed with live animals and plants and all my stuff smooshed against the windows, which always felt like watching my entire life on the spin cycle.
There also were the adventures.
Like the time my brother and I drove a U-Haul from San Diego to Colorado. We pulled into a gas station at 4 a.m. in that little corner of Arizona when the attendant came running out waving his arms wildly and yelling at us. But it was too late – we’d already pulled under the too-low awning and sure enough, got stuck when the top of the truck scraped against it. We had to let air out of the tires just to get through. I think we pulled out just as the sun was coming up.
That same trip, my brother, who was just a little stoner hippie kid back then with wild hair and a full beard, stopped in the middle of the Utah desert on a section of I-70 where there are no services for 109 miles.
“What the hell are you doing?” I yelled after he took off running into the red, dusty, sun-baked horizon.
After driving in a truck with seats that did not recline and an engine that would go no faster than 45 mph, we were both losing it. He looked at me with wild eyes and a demonic grin. In his arms was a giant rock. He held it over his head and said, “Cruise control.”
When we finally got to Boulder after driving all night, I was gazing out the passenger window already feeling nostalgic for our brother-sister road trip when the rear-view mirror simply vanished, leaving behind a mass of mangled twisted metal.
“Oops,” was all my brother said. “I guess I came a little too close to that stop sign.”
Then there was the time I drove by myself from San Diego to Jackson Hole and took a wrong turn somewhere in southern Wyoming and ended up on a Forest Service road in the middle of the night, on a road that wasn’t even plowed. “This is America; there will be a town eventually,” I kept telling myself. What I didn’t know yet was that Wyoming isn’t really like America, or anything on this planet for that matter. It certainly wasn’t what I had in mind when I decided to move for fresh tracks.
While Ryan went to Glenwood to return the U-Haul I plopped on the couch and finally just stopped moving. And that’s when I realized that maybe, just maybe, I stopped moving for good.
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