It was Frank.  I had a few reminders of who that man was that I met, conquered and couldn’t seem to get rid of over the next few weeks.  Like – one hell of a bruise from the gear shift, a bit of a limp and phone call after phone call, like some lovesick high school girl who just had her first kiss.  Annoying.  But it was fun – all the protection with none of the regret.  Obviously, I didn’t let him in on my moving plans, not even letting him come upstairs to my apartment…he would have seen the boxes…hence my new bruise.  I considered him kind of a gift to myself.  From Tampa.  With Love.

The next 7 days were hectic – to say the least.  I got rid of tons of stuff, packed what was absolutely necessary and sold whatever would fetch any kind of value.  I was determined to start anew in Atlanta.  The final night – boxes everywhere, trash, bits of furniture left – my friend Lamar came in on a bus from Atlanta to help me.  He was going to not only help me finish up in my Tampa apartment, but he was going to drive the U-Haul while I drove in my car.  Fabulous!  Why are bus stations so far away?  It seemed to take forever to get to the station, but not as long as his ride down.  They were running behind so he didn’t arrive until almost midnight.  A nightmare.

In the meantime, a couple of local friends offered to come over and help.  And they brought an extra set of hands.  Okay, so, she was an absolute terror.  I don’t know why she had to be there.  I don’t remember her name (let’s call her Bitch-slap), what her relationship to my actual friend was, nor do I care.  All I remember is that she was about to get bitch-slapped by everyone in her presence.  It was like it was her mission to annoy the hell out of everyone.  Was she drinking?  A bit.  But no one can be that much of a lightweight.  The rest of us weren’t drinking all that much, either.  There was work to do.  By the time we got Lamar back to the apartment and put him to work, I thought I’d never get it done.

A few trips to the dumpster solved a bunch of problems.  It’s amazing how much crap you don’t need when you’ve got to get to gettin.’  By dawn, we had transported most of my headaches from the apartment to the street/dumpster/truck/car, so things were looking up.  Bitch-slap was quieting down herself.  But not without ruffling a few more of my feathers.

Why are you cleaning the counters, stove and stuff?  

Because I’m moving out and it’s what you do.  I don’t want to leave it filthy.”

“They’re just going to come in and clean it anyway.  You’re wasting time.”

“I don’t want to leave it dirty.  I’m not a heathen.  Now, why don’t you go help Lamar carry that box down to the truck?”

Thankfully, that worked.  Either she was ADD, easily amused or begging for some attention.  I didn’t care.  I was ready to be done.

And then I was.  It was time to say goodbye to my buddies.  It’s hard to find friends who will help you pack and move your crap through a long and stressful night.  I was so incredibly grateful.  And exhausted.

Time to go.  But not without parting gifts.  Thank you so much for helping me.  Here take this lamp.  And you, you get a rug.  And for you, Bitch-slap, you get this mystery box.  No idea what’s in it, but it’s all yours.

Atlanta, here we come.


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