‘There’s too much clutter,’ I say to Hank.
He’s sorting through an old trunk that contains tools that belonged to his father. Above his head, wooden boxes hold nails, screws, paint tins, cables, and, astonishingly, our old Venetian blinds. Why he’s keeping them in the old shed, I’ll never know.
‘It’s not clutter. Everything that’s here I’ll use again one day.’
‘Hank, be reasonable. You haven’t even been out here in five years, so it’s unlikely that you’ll use anything now, or in our new hom—‘
A sob catches in my throat; Hank looks up. ‘You alright?’
My heart pounds like a timpani, my fingers shake. I wait a beat, gather my thoughts.
It’s our home, the one we built when we were newly married. Over time, we repainted walls, added another storey that included a master suite with an ensuite and parents’ retreat, we updated the main bathroom and redecorated countless times. We raised our children here, welcomed their friends, and watched as relationships blossomed, disintegrated. Dried their tears until they mended, to begin it all over again. Now they’ve moved out and into their own homes. It’s time to downsize.
I’m far from alright. Folding my arms over my chest, I say, ‘Not really, Hank.’
Typical Hank. He can never see what’s right in front of him.
He continues, ‘I thought you wanted this.’
I’ve been hasty, unfair. Clearly he knows what’s wrong.
My emotions threaten to bubble over, so I stay silent.
‘Sandra?’ Hank says. ‘You do want this don’t you?’
I nod. ‘We need to downsize, Hank. It’s time to move on. Definitely.’ Tears flow down my cheeks. I wipe them with the back of my hand. ‘I didn’t expect to feel this way, that’s all.’
And inside, anger burns that he’s considering bringing all this shit from the shed with us.