It’s a beautiful day outside. The sky is that particular shade of blue only ever found in a Wyoming summer. A light breeze through the open bedroom window flutters the photos on the walls and sets the ribbons on your loom dancing.
I’m cleaning out your room. You were last here over a year ago. I’ve tried this before, you know. It’s like touching a bruise to see if it’s healed, and it hasn’t yet, so you wait and then try again, and then wait some more. I think this is as healed as it’ll get.
Things here grow when I’m not watching. Where did it all come from? The clothes destined now for the thrift store. The balls of yarn studded with knitting needles. The scattered beads and chemotherapy manuals and embroidery floss and hospice pamphlets and the tiny tools for placing fake gems into fake-silver settings. All the bits and pieces of you, left behind. I clean and bag and move and there’s always more, always more. It’s never-ending. I’ll never be past it.
The Tic-Tacs that skitter away like frightened mice when I sweep the floor; I know where they came from. You loved that candy. Handfuls always in your shirt pockets, your pants pockets. They’d slip from your grasp, the little green dots bouncing everywhere and scaring the cats.
I keep finding the wintergreen specks throughout the house. In the kitchen, where you fixed your coffee. Beneath the dresser in my room, batted there by an inquisitive paw. In the car, from the last time you went to chemo, and then told me you were done with treatment. The candy is nothing more than breadcrumb memories, and I follow them back through the forest of my grief.
I find a handful now nestled in a few knitted squares of yarn, the last project you worked on, started back when you still felt good. You agonized over the colors, all the shades of green with their lush names. Shamrock and lime, seafoam and fern. You were going to make me an afghan.
The rest of this will have to wait.
I lie across my mother’s bed, pop a candy in my mouth, and look out at that perfectly blue sky.
I’ve edited and re-edited this piece. I think I like this version best. No more re-writes. This is for you, Momer.