"Travel light, but take everything with you. No cases full of cuddly toys. No toys, in fact."
These were the terse instructions from my mother as I prepared to pack the contents of my life into one tiny, child-size suitcase, a suitcase barely big enough to accommodate a change of clothes, let alone anything sentimental, useful or practical. What on earth had possessed her to choose such a ridiculous object for such a momentous adventure? I couldn't even begin to think. It was completely unsuitable and my mother was usually such a meticulous woman. Nothing escaped her notice. The house was spotlessly clean. Everything had its place on its shelf and woe betide anyone who moved it. She had trampled many an unsuspecting visitor with her icy stares. I knew not to touch, not to move, and to breathe quietly. Which was why I was struggling so much now. Could I tell her there wasn't enough space? Dare I mention that without the essentials - toothbrush, comb, change of underwear, amongst numerous other things - I wouldn't get far? Or was that the whole point? Was she really going to take me with her? Afterall, she wasn't just packing me up to go on a holiday. We wouldn't be returning in a couple of weeks. This was it, forever. I would never see this house, my father, my brother or my dog again. If I had it correctly. Why me? Why not him? And what was I to do wi