By Sylvia Li
"You're not going to remember this."
I was five, going on six. Our family was moving out of the top-floor Montreal apartment that was the only home my younger brother and I had known.
Our belongings were packed into boxes already, including my favourite doll Gloria. Mummy had done that quietly behind my back. Gloria's once-shimmering dress was not so glorious as when she'd been new last Christmas. Her real rooted hair was tangled now, impossible to comb and to tell the truth, my efforts in that direction had made her a little bald. Her blue eyes still closed when I laid her down. I'd have been worried about her if I'd known she was all closed up in a box.
The moving men were coming and going, nearly done taking the furniture and boxes down to the truck. It was time to say goodbye to this place.
Daddy took us down the long hall to "the Bobs room" at the far end, where my Uncle Bob had stayed when he didn't have any place else to go. Uncle Bob was married now.
Robby had sometimes slept in that room and sometimes I had. Sometimes other family members had stayed there when they visited but for us, that room's permanent name was the Bobs room.
Daddy, Robby, and I made our way back, hand in hand, room by room, kindly acknowledging each one because we had been happy here, while Mummy dusted and swept.
When we got to the front living room, Daddy took the phone down from the waist-high telephone shelf and set it on the floor. The phone was black, of course. All phones were black in those days and they all belonged to the telephone company. The shelf was a tall niche built right into the wall. It had always held the phone book and the telephone and nothing else.
Daddy lifted each of us up to sit on that high shelf where we had never, ever sat before. "You're not going to remember this," he told us.
But we do. Both of us do.