SSM: “Lock Box” by Kim Chinquee

18 May

When we cleaned out my mother’s house, we had to wear masks, bandannas over our faces, the smell and the grime and the dirt in the air was just too much. There were boxes yet unpacked from the move, 5 years before–stuffed with old copies of Redbook dating back to 1979, canned goods expired a year or 2 past, broken calculators, candlesticks wrapped in newspaper.

There is a dirty business to cleaning up after one’s life. There are bills left unpaid. There are spoiled leftovers growing cultures in the refrigerator. There are arrangements to be made–there is the word, “arrangements.” There are memories long and sometimes better left forgotten.

I was in the other room, checking his pockets, putting clothes in boxes. I wanted to wear his shirts, though they smelled like something bad I couldn’t remember. The flowered one he’d worn once on vacation. I remembered him in it, or maybe it was pictures. I was sure then, he didn’t want to be there, at the petting zoo, feeding deer and horses. I touched his clothes as if they were him, alive, as if I could have touched him.

Read the full story at Used Furniture Review.

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