When my ex-husband-to-be offered that he would help me move house so that I save money on a moving company, I first thought it was a commendable act of kindness, however belated. I should have known better. More than anything, my dear and loving husband turned out to be plotting a cruel and unusual revenge, deliberately or otherwise. After changing the date of the D-Day (Departure Day) twice, he finally settled on the following brilliant plan:
- It will be done on a Friday. That’s excellent in that Fridays are notorious for their low traffic and absence of people everywhere because nobody travels for holiday or does shopping for the weekend.
- He will go to work for a few hours and I’ll go with him and wait until he’s done. That’s sweet in that his work team will surely love to meet for coffee and chat their boss’s wife-to-be-divorced.
- We’ll go to Ikea, get my chosen furniture and load it in the van. That’s logical in that I’m a heavy-weight weight-lifting champion who has obviously no trouble even to lift and hold her nine-pound cat for a cuddle.
- We’ll return to our old house, load boxes and drive to my new home. That’s exciting in that we can exchange funny stories from our recently ended twelve-year relationship while we’re stuck in the traffic jam.
- We’ll unload the van, on which my brother-in-law will join to help. He can’t help with loading/unloading the furniture and the boxes because it’s the day he is spending quality time with his five-year-old in KFC.
I wasn’t consulted regarding the action plan. It was assumed that I agree by default. So I agreed, although I did mention politely that the plan could use some fine-tuning. Actually, I threatened divorce, but the husband helpfully pointed out that I couldn’t double divorce him. Well, if I could, I would.
The D-Day started in the middle of a dark, cold and windy night, at 5:55 a.m. Because getting up at six straight is boring. I had spent the previous day and much of the night packing, as only losers pack in sufficient advance. My vital functions that morning were hence somewhat limited, to say the least. My autopilot programme walked me through the morning routine up to getting in the car, where I promptly dozed off.
I woke up with a start when the car pulled up to a dilapidated building off the motorway. I was wondering if my undear and unloving husband took all the trouble to sell me into slavery or slay me and leave my dead body in a ditch. I was just opening my mouth to suggest I’d prefer to be killed because I’m too exhausted for anything else, when the husband said that this was a stationery warehouse and that he was going to get some printing paper. Great.
He (unhelpfully): Do you want something?
She (meekly): I’d just like to move house.
He (ignoring the previous): So wait here.
The next stop, at the man’s workplace, wasn’t awkward at all, as nobody was staring at me curiously and everybody was eager to gossip about the meanness of the husband/boss, who certainly wasn’t behind everyone’s back at one and the same time. Picture this. It’s fun to imagine, though sadly, I don’t remember it because I came to some sort of consciousness only after having been served a third coffee, which coincided with the boss’s orders to move. Move I did, as I very much wanted to move.
The next thing I knew I woke up in Ikea, and my ex-to-be was yelling at me to get the bloody shopping list and move my decreasingly hot ass because this was no pleasure trip. It indeed wasn’t. On the ex’s defence, he might or might have not tried not yelling at me at first, but I wouldn’t have responded as I was walking dead. I was navigating the aisles, much to my companion’s dismay, and advising him to load the trolley with bookcases, tables and chairs. He looked disgusted, though I wouldn’t know, as I don’t really know him.
Inevitably, one trolley was not enough, and I was dispatched to get one of my own. A fun fact: a person is capable of developing incredible strength under pressure. It doesn’t look graceful, unless you’re Hemingway, but it works. More or less. So I was pushing, pulling and sliding the trolley all about Ikea’s self-serve warehouse, having it filled with a flat-packed bed, a chest of drawers, a bedside table, a shoe rack, a mirror cabinet and more, a danger to myself and everyone around, but moving.
The cashier rang my purchases up unceremoniously, as though I spend a three months’ worth of my wages on the regular. I was terrified that my credit card would be rejected because I never exposed it to such degree of exploitation before. But I got away with it, and a three-foot-long receipt. Now let’s reload the trolleys in the van, drive back to the house, feed the van boxes with my possessions and off to move it all in my new home. As simple as that. Except.
Except it became clear that the van was too small to accommodate all the furniture and all the boxes. The move would have to be split in two days. I was screaming internally. Until I thought better of it and decided to conserve any energy I had left for the actual move, which hadn’t even started yet properly. It was about five p.m. that we made it to my destination. It took an hour to move the contents of the van in the flat, floor six – but a lift all aright. Beam me up, Scotty.
My brother-in-law-soon-not-to-be arrived and furniture assembling commenced. I can’t deny the two brothers’ goodwill and effort, yet in my dazed eyes clouded by utter exhaustion, they looked like Laurel and Hardy failing hard. While the men were abusing Ikea, Swedes and the whole world by extension, I was abusing myself for not having had sense enough to pay professionals for the job who would actually be capable of doing it. I hated myself and the two not-DIY-guys, which I proceeded to share with the world.
Husband (threatening): You’re kidding. You aren’t texting now.
Wife (thinking): Not really, I’m snapping pics of you two guys and WhatsApping them to sympathetic friends with snarky comments. (Saying): No, I’m just looking at the phone.
Husband (outraged): Seriously? Don’t you think you should help us?
Wife (thinking): By acting as a dumb waiter and holding your screws, for instance? (Saying): What do you need help with?
Husband (pauses, hesitates, yells): Take the rubbish to the bin already!
Complying, I assumed the form of Sisyphus and started to shift armfuls of cardboard and plastic to the recycle bins, skidding on the icy path and stumbling like a drunk as sleet was blowing against my glasses. Ikea uses mountains of packaging material, in case you wonder. Returning from my umpteenth dustwoman’s trip, I came to Laurel and Hardy packing their tools away though they haven’t finished assembling yet. It was decided that the rest would be done by my husband Hardy alone the following day.
As I thanked the men and compensated them for their trouble, my brother-in-law Laurel causally mentioned that I was expected on his birthday party the next day. I began to say that my mind understandably wasn’t on family celebrations whilst in the middle of a move, however, I was effectively silenced by the brother I married, who coldly observed that this was the least I could do. Why on earth would a family whom I’m divorcing want me at their gathering? I don’t get you, people. Just let me move, please.