Prose: What Will Be …

Yeah, I hate to get rid of it, but there’s no use lettin’ it sit there to rot.

When I used to could drive, I liked going over there and sitting with everything. When it’s there, it’s like everyone is still there. Letting it go is like letting everyone go with it.

 You got those feed sacks?

Imagine you were shot or stabbed in the stomach a week or so ago. Masking the wound is a large square patch of taped-on gauze. You slowly peel it back to see how the wound is healing, but along with it rip off some of the newly formed scab. You can sort of see inside, or at least have a view of the pulsating pink flesh, maybe the knotted intestines. It’s nauseating to look at, but you almost can’t look away. This is as close to you as you can get.

I barely slept, if at all, last night – too many thoughts and sounds twirling around in my brain keeping me on edge. And if I dared even dream about falling asleep, so to speak, a faint commotion outside would mockingly jolt me back to reality. What’s that noise? Are you crazy? You can’t go to sleep! Is that Nana having a nightmare? No, no it’s just a dog whimpering. Breathe deep. Here I go. MEOW! MEOW! MEOW! It’s like these sounds, this cat follows me, knows just when to nudge me back from the hint of sweet slumber, reminds me of the cats that used to hide under the house and moan and grind in heat when I was little. God, what an awful sound. What was that? People talking, somewhere. Is that Nana? Heat kicks on, teasing me, relax now, don’t worry.

Yesterday we took just about all we still wanted out of the house. Some coats, a few dishes, a big, blue plastic container of clothes, old papers, feed sacks, etc. What’s left for the flea market to come and take away this morning are a few bits of tattered furniture and about 50 boxes stuffed with a lifetime or two of objects – dusty, rusty things that may not matter to most people, but to us represent what was, what used to be, what could have been, what if.

The thought of movers coming to strip the house bare this morning fetches the bile back up to my throat. I watch the maggots of anger, sadness and guilt dance around inside my open wound. By now the dust mites have constructed a sweet nest deep inside my lungs. And I cough, like nails on a chalkboard.

I want Mom here to hold onto. I can’t do this alone. Am I making Nana sad? Should I have waited? The thought of putting it off any longer sickens me, weakens me, just about as much as the anticipation of it happening today.

Outside, the birds are singing that same tune they have sung all my life. If I close my eyes, I can imagine lying in my bed in that front room as a teenager, smelling the dust from the windowsills, hearing those same reassuring birds. How long do birds live? Forever? Maybe they’re here talking to me, conjuring up stories of the past, laughing – remember that day when? Oh wasn’t that a hoot? What about when? Oh, we could be here all day. Oh, yes indeed, those were the days. Have I finally gone mad?

As the nausea continues to rise, I think about how weird humans are. Here I sit anticipating, agonizing, feeling sick over something that won’t happen for another three hours. And after all is said and done, the day will move on. Tonight, as we begin to heal, Nana and I will cry over some cheesy Hallmark movie, look up where House Hunters International will be, sift through the pile of stuff we brought over, couldn’t part with, thought we might one day need, and crack up over some story that something within that pile might bring up.

As for now, I’ll sit with my open wound, listening to the birds, sipping Folgers coffee, letting the acid and angst bubble up inside and shed a tear or two for what was, and what will be.

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