#6 – The Leftovers

Where's grandpa in grandma's loft

Where’s grandpa in grandma’s loft

“She’s still here.”

My father was whining. Hunched over in a chair, his feet tapped a soft staccato against the floor. One hand continuously passed over the other—an effort at self-comforting. I could hear the susurrus of old skin; it sounded like a faucet was on in another room—a distant, muffled frequency.

“She’s not here, Dad. She’s gone.” I said the words, and they immediately sounded silly. We were surrounded by her—wicker baskets of yarn stacked to the ceiling, spools of thread on the floor, raw fleece billowing from plastic wrappings, spinning wheels, buckets of knitting needles, bags and bags of clothes. It smelled distinctly of her: wooden, warm, wooly, like a sweater in a cedar drawer.

“No no no. She’s still here.” He was pleading with me. He didn’t want me to empty the room. All those memories that I was planning to cart to the Goodwill. I might as well dissect her on the floor and remove her limb by limb.

“She’s always going to be here, Dad, even if all this stuff isn’t.” I turned away from him and walked to a stack of straw suitcases piled on a chair. In my mind I was already opening them to see what was inside.

NO.” The muffled faucet stopped, and two feet snapped resolutely to the floor. I turned to look at him, and saw it. Or maybe felt it.

“She’s still here.”

Fear. He was afraid. But it wasn’t her absence.

She was here. I could feel it. And he was right to be afraid.


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