Finding Life (in obvious places): Packing Up

I’m all packed and ready to go. I stayed in tonight to get ready. A Friday night, with nobody around and nothing on the television. All I can hear are the sounds of my childhood as scenes from my past flash through my mind, with a good bottle of wine to keep them there.

I found a picture of my father, posing next to his motorcycle, just before he ran off with it.

I found a letter from Julie, written when she was in high school, with nineteen exclamation points and seven hearts with arrows in them.

I found a book about Abraham Lincoln my grandmother gave me, with my name printed in pencil, along with “Age 9.”

I found a newspaper clipping about my uncle’s death. The headline read, “Man Shot By Jealous Husband.”

I found a library book that was three years overdue.

I found some poem I had written in high school about a soldier that died.

I found a picture of my mother in a bathing suit, with the words “To My Hubby” written across the top and “I Love You” across the bottom.

I found seven New Testaments given to me by my mother and her friends, the Gideons.

I put everything I found in one of three big boxes I’d gotten from work and poured a cup of wine as I looked at them in the corner, near the door. Now I’m sitting here, looking at the bare walls and empty shelves. Just like when I moved in. Like nothing’s happened.

I can now hear the fat lady singing along with the radio and laughing at the DJs. This wine isn’t as good as the guy said.

Those three boxes are still in the corner of the attic, after all these years. Joined by weights and broken toys and unused appliances — signs of life well spent, now tossed aside. Allison’s paintings of the children and our time together look on somewhat curiously. I haven’t been up there in years, but I wouldn’t let go of them for the world.

“Daddy’s Girls II”  Oil painting of children with father by Kathryn Morris Trotter

 from Gabriela Lima

{This is part of a larger work entitled Finding Life (in obvious places). You can follow the story by clicking on the title in the tags below.}

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