Karla had never felt so alone. It had seemed like a good idea at the time, moving to a place where nobody knew her, or her past. A fresh start. People did this constantly. And everything had fallen into place. She’d been able to get someone to sublet her apartment, and had sold most of her furniture or despatched it to op shops, ready for the next owner to find them.
It had taken a while to find somewhere to rent, but when she connected with a real estate agent who seemed to understand what Karla was looking for, things moved at a pace. The photos and video footage of the studio looked perfect, though she was enough of a realist to expect that there would be things about the place that she wouldn’t like. Still, she committed to a six-month lease and paid the deposit and first month’s rent, dipping into her savings but sure it would all be worthwhile.
Karla had allowed herself a week to settle in to her new home in a new city. This had been a good call, as it had taken more time than she’d calculated to set up the basics in the studio. It was smaller than she’d expected, and this had been a disappointment but made it easier to furnish. She’d found the bare necessities at a local charity shop and Kmart, and spent her nights applying for jobs that were nearby or close to public transport.
For all of her preparation, she hadn’t anticipated the overwhelming sense of being uprooted from all that was familiar. It was similar to the feeling she’d had at times when on holidays in a strange place, but that was a temporary sensation and part of the thrill of adventure. Here it was more about trying to understand the geography of the place, of how things worked in a city that had an unfamiliar rhythm. Maybe she should have chosen a place where she knew someone.
After a couple of awkward phone and video job interviews, she was asked to head into the city for a second round evaluation. Karla did a trial run the day before, working out the bus route that would get her there early. It made it a little easier on the day, but she still felt a kind of scrunching in her stomach, and found herself looking at the faces of strangers, hoping for something familiar and certain to give her strength.
She walked into the foyer, straightening her spine and telling herself that she could do this. At the reception desk, she handed over her details and waited for a pass card for the lift. Karla glanced around, and spotted an old-fashioned jug holding a clutch of freesias. She stepped towards it, inhaling the rich scent. It took her back to her Nana’s garden, of picking some delicately stemmed flowers and giving them to her Nan. Nana had taken her hand, and they’d headed back to the kitchen to find a vase. The scent memory calmed her, and she felt a sense of quiet determination envelop her as she accepted the pass and strode towards the lifts.
I’m participating in this blogging challenge for the month of January, which supports starting the year on the “write” track. You can find out more about the challenge, join in and read other posts here.
Photo: freesias in an old jug