Liv, Years Hence
Clouds of black fur catch the drift of her footsteps near the wall and float alongside her in feathery taunts. The dog’s shedding again in this heat. The floor needs a good cleaning and who else is going to lift the broom to the task. She tosses the rugs out the back door and pulls the chairs away from the table. No reason to dawdle. The day holds no better offers for a woman down with a case of the doldrums, who has nothing better to do than to push up her shirt sleeves and get to it. At least she can feel the satisfaction of a completed task. Beginning, middle, end. After that, who knows. Start with the floor, she thinks. Foundations.
Some days the edges don’t match no matter how hard she tries. Some flaw in the fabric or an uneven cut against the bias keeps the corners from lining up like she’s used to. Why has her hum gone flat as the pressed oak leaves held between Cloud and Compost in her treasured Book of Symbols? She has hobbled back from the damage of seeing The Lost Things. She convinces herself that even imprisoned, inanimate objects need movement and air. Back to the unmatched edges she’s met up against lately. What to make of them is a lesson she’s yet to learn.
The weight lifts as she empties the boxes and drawers, unburdens the hangers, donates the art. The cabinets half empty, the closets and crannies, too — all this possession coming to an inevitable end. She stops herself from imagining who might do what with all that is no longer needed.
Her identity is bolted to things, nailed to walls in the agreeable arrangements of other people’s stories, displayed behind glass at just the right angle. But her greatest wish is to leave the world unencumbered, her reference points invisible, the map of her life vacant of fancies that crush against the back wall of the closet, temptress remnants that sing of what she could make of them someday. Even exposition fails her.
The Ceremony of the Release of What She Will No Longer Carry will take as many seasons as it takes. Her tools: a bell, a candle, and her will. And gratitude for what has been given and what must go.