What was my home just this morning is now a hollow shell, haunted by the shades of things no longer there. Ghosts of paintings hang on empty nails. Memories of books rest on empty shelves, their outlines still traced in the dust. I swerve to avoid the cat scratcher that is no longer in the hallway. Closet doors hang agape as if to show off the nothing within. The living room - white walls, white ceiling, white furniture - has seemed to double in size with nothing left to look at but the sheer blank space. Cat fur tumbleweeds roll across the newly rugless floor, adding a lonely ghost town flavor of their own.
I sleep in a bed redressed with thin welcome kit sheets and a duvet too long for its cover. It is not my bed anymore. Post-shower I dry off with scratchy too-small welcome kit towels. I eat a pathetic takeout dinner with a flimsy welcome kit fork and sip tea from a nondescript welcome kit mug, both pulled from the plastic tub that squats where my butcher block table used to be. These things are not my things. I do not like them, and they do not like me.
My meagre remaining possessions - two suitcases worth, and a carry-on - are dwarfed by the palpable emptiness around them. I feel suddenly like a squatter, camping out in a place that doesn't belong to me. Because it doesn't belong to me. I just made a home here for a while, feathering a little nest in among the rented house and the government-issue furniture. And now my nest is in 99 cardboard boxes on their way to the port, to Antwerp, to Djibouti, to Addis.
I really am leaving. This isn't my home anymore.