It was a lovely, mild Sunday morning as I opened my eyes to my very last Perth sunrise. As I rolled over to check the time, I found myself in a less than picturesque moment; face to face with one of my many suitcases.
I collected the blankets sprawled all over my floor and drifted to the door. I looked at my naked room – my bed was gone and I had very quickly busted the myth that sleeping on the floor is good for your back. My walls were bare and my dried flowers sent back to their maker. Despite my feelings of serenity and calm, things were about to get very messy. In the next six hours I had to seal and post several boxes, empty my fridge and pantry, weigh and re-pack my luggage, hand over the keys to my little abode and say goodbye to everything I loved in this sleepy city.
Needless to say, everything went awry. The post office was closed, my eyes were brimming with tears by as early as 9 a.m. and, instead of gifting it to my neighbours, I ended up eating the entire contents of my freezer; ice cream, frozen peas and the left over pumpkin muffins from a meal prep past. I spent a good hour practicing how to hold my hand luggage in attempt to make it look smaller and lighter and by 4 p.m. the butterflies in my tummy had arrived at my throat. It was time to say goodbye (yes, Andre Bocelli just started singing in my head too.)
With our final farewells to ‘The Villa’ my roommate and I tumbled into our best friend’s car and made a bee line for the airport. The windows were clamoured with duffles and hard shells as we fumbled to consult Siri for directions out of the West – Terminal 1 here we come!
The car ride was silent. No one really knew what to say. It’s a funny feeling being stuffed in a car with the things you love. Part of you wants to press pause and stay there forever, part of you can’t wait to be in transit, if only to remind yourself that life is ever changing and pause is not an option. But there’s no harm in smiling and drinking in a lovely memory and storing it safely away in the shelves of your mind…
We arrived at the airport and quietly de-luggaged the car. Feeling 11 years old and ready to walk through walls, we made our way to the gates. Although not as catchy as “Platform 9 & 3/4”, “T1” had a charming ring to it now that we were finally on our way. Carefully balancing our lives on a trolley we approached departures, arriving at baggage check with a sign of relief as our eyes began to wander through the unusually quiet terminal. Where were the 18 other humidifier-holding beings? Where was the landscape of luggage? The mass of emotions?
Perhaps its just me, but do you ever have those moments in life when you ponder whether or not ‘The Truman Show’ was really a wake up call? Jim Carrey’s personal attempt to shake you into reality and notify you that you’re starring in your very own 24 hour special? These are the moments that no sitcom writer could pen more perfectly or tragically and we were in one right now. Standing in a poster worthy picture, looming above us was a larger-than-life illuminated sign reading “T2”.
As if someone had hit rewind, we scuttled back to the car, threw in our luggage and headed for the gates… but the fickle finger of fate hadn’t finished with us just yet. Remaining a trio of albeit stressed but true optimists we headed for the exit, praying that the parking gods would smile down on us. The next ten minutes went as follows: attempted exit, exit declined, card facilities broken, cash only, fight the tears, coins only, keep smiling, search for coins, empty bag, coins found, slow boom, FREE!
Hearts pounding and brows glistening fifteen minutes later, Siri brought us to the most glorious sign – T1! Once again bustling our bags onto trollies we ran into the terminal to find our classmate, Jenna, waiting by the bag check with our tickets. A very hasty and yes, hazy goodbye to our beautiful chauffeur friends and we boarded the escalator, farewelling the last sight of western soil and looking to the whirlwind ahead of us.
Leaving behind your heart is hard. When you board a plane with a one-way ticket to the real world, there aren’t any words that quite sum up the tickle in your stomach. But the images stay. They always stay. The home you left spotless after hours of scrubbing on your knees with a toothbrush, the late night cups of tea with Laura after a show, still buzzing with adrenaline, eyes dewy with joy. The nights of delirium after a sixteen hour day, rolling around our apartment floor, giggling over our mysterious Benjamin Button of a neighbour downstair. The ups, the downs, the incredible highs. The love you sow, the bonds you will always keep; in your favourite practice room, your secret nook in the library, the yummiest brownie in town, the lemon tree that never stops giving, the mentors you find where you’d never think to look, the smell of the theatre as you walk in on your first day of production week, the person you go to when its just too much and the faces you’ve smiled at every day for three years. And guess what, if you’re lucky, they’ll keep smiling back.