The sense of loss deepened. Eliza brought energy to the quiet home, though nothing took away from Milly’s guilt. Knowing Vicky died here, alone, in a peaceful passing, the emphasis was on Milly failing to be at home with her. Going into Vicky’s room had been difficult, but Eliza could not spend three months on the sofa. Milly struggled to pack, trying to be specific and keeping hold of necessary trinkets. The place held three lives; for Milly, it was home, and she wanted to stay, clinging to the past. It’s what she feared; that leaving, those memories would fade. Eliza took down the paintings, she believed would be perfect for their apartment. The city would bring new inspiration for Milly’s art and ways they could honour Vicky and Ziva. Milly remained unconvinced. Everything she knew of life lived within these walls and selling felt disrespectful.
Libby seemed unfazed by the sudden upheaval. The treats and a well-deserved catnap in the crate did wonders as the train pulled into San Myshuno. As for the new apartment, Libby needed to explore. She discovered the warm spot by the electric fire and where the food supply resided. Milly had the choice of two rooms, the first felt warmest, but with no windows, it felt like a prison. The second offered a view; the brick wall of the opposite building and a rusty staircase. If she pressed her face to the glass, she could see through the alley to the children’s play area. The painting gave the room a sense of home. Unfortunately, the jackhammer and neighbouring voices were poor substitutes. She missed the fresh air, squawking seagulls, cats, dogs and the crashing waves. She longed for views over vast oceans, squinting to see the cargo ships.
Milly watched Eliza in the kitchen; she felt ungrateful for the effort her cousin was going to. Eliza provided a second journal, encouraging her to write everything she could remember. It was to keep safe the memories of her life with Vicky and Ziva, and the pets they kept. It would never be the same; Milly questioned her memories, already starting to forget her old life. Could she embrace the city life as Eliza did? Milly closed the book; it would be thoughts for another day. School started in the morning, and she needed to at least attempt to sleep.
Milly opted for the windowless room; the other she suggested would make a good art room or at least half of it. The room was in two parts as Eliza had intended on giving Milly a private bathroom. The builder wanted to exploit the time frame by doubling the cost so she shelved the idea. The other half made for an excellent workout zone. Eliza set up a yoga mat and punch bag, offering to teach her cousin. In her room, Milly kept Ziva’s electronic desk; it looked out of place with the rest of their furnishings. There seemed so little of Ziva around it was nice to hold onto what she did have.