The Ugly Dishes

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Today is very likely the last day I will ever spend in my parents’ house. Months after my father’s death, the apartment is in contract and I’m getting it ready for the buyer to take it over. I’m at their dining table right now, the same table around which we ate so many meals, preparing to say goodbye to all the things of my childhood.  Preparing to let my parents truly go.

I find it’s the little things that get me right in the heart. The dated blue light fixture that hung in my brother’s childhood bedroom. My mother’s battered old food mill, with which we made so many batches of Thanksgiving applesauce. The seventies-style coffee cups rubbed raw from decades of spoons stirring in sweetener. Even the utterly atrocious paintings that have hung over the living room sofa since I can remember.

I’ll be taking these things with me. They will uglify my own home now. They’ll look at odds with everything I own. One day perhaps I’ll be ready to part with them. But right now they’re the last pieces of the people who raised me, the last tangible link with the things they touched and imbued with meaning.

So much is changing. My time in Santa Fe may be coming to an end soon. I’ll be finishing my new novel before long. Leaving some friends behind, reconnecting with others. I’m not the sort of person to find change exciting. I dread it. I fear it. But here it is, and I hope I’m up to the challenge. Because like it or not, life goes on. And so, perchance, will I.

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