Sunday, June 30, 2013

Parents' Stuff

"If your house were on fire, what five things would you save?" I asked my dad.

"Well, the cat," he said. "Whatever computer had most of my files on it..." He paused, "I mean it would depend on what I could take. I wouldn't have time--"
"No, time is a non-issue. You just get five things."
"Well, I would just take whatever I could--"
"No, that's doesn't matter. A fireman will get any five things you want."
He clinked his spoon around. My aunt shuffled in the kitchen, closing the bag of pretzels.
"I would save [her boyfriend], the dogs--How many is that?"
"Let's say it counts as one."
" computer. Non-digital photos..."
My dad re-piped in, "Old photos, yes."
"And?" I asked him. He shrugged.
My aunt narrowed her eyes around the living room. "Okay, maybe a lamp?" Then, definitively, "I guess I would save three things if my house were on fire."

And yet. We sit in a house of things.
Back in the day.
My dad and aunt have been spending the weekend sorting through their parents' things. Every night, Char takes to his bed like its magnetized to his back. So many boxes. Tables fill of things, empty, shift.

Tonight the garage was officially closed. The siblings had conquered the junk/treasures. I have a new can opener and sheets. Tax Ant exhaled big and prodded at Char: "You promise Lucy right now you're never going to put her through this." My dad said, "I promise," but he looked at his hands and smirked.

He knows. He knows the box he heaved today is one I will heave someday.

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