As I surveyed the rooms, I knew I had a monumental task in front of me. Boxes and garbage bags as far as the eye could see. Hoarders would have a field day with me and all this crap.
Holy hell, where do I start?
7 years worth of books, discarded toys, outgrown clothes, things I didn’t need or use, but saved, just in case I needed them again. An organizational nightmare made worse by all the new crap we lugged up here the day before David’s funeral. 5 months worth of school papers, outgrown clothes and toys.
Not to mention the baby things. David’s things. His clothes, his bassinet, his swing, his boppy. All the outgrown clothes, new clothes, clothes he had yet to grow into. I know this project will be the end of me. But it needs to be done if we ever want to finish renovating up here and actually use the bedrooms for more than junk collection.
I start with the LIFO method, last in first out. Chosen simply because I can’t walk but a foot into any of the doorways. I sort through 2 full boxes of school papers. 5 months worth of work for 2 kids. I whittle it down to a handful of papers and toss the rest.
Next up, clothes. So many boxes and bags full of clothes. I suppose lugging all the crap back downstairs will make it easier in the long-run – wash, sort, put away whatever fits, throw away the junkie stuff, box up the rest.
Sounds easy peasy.
I start with the boxes, avoiding David’s tiny dresser like the plague. One, two, three, six, nine, twelve…where the hell did all these clothes come from? It’s going to take me days to sort them all.
And it does. Every day I spend time sifting through the bags and boxes sorting each piece into it’s appropriate pile.
Fortunately there’s plenty of things that fit the boys, a good bit to sell or giveaway and a couple of boxes for Zachary and Jonathan to grow into.
The washing machine hasn’t had a break in days and I wonder if it isn’t just easier to dump everything into the washer first, and sort later. First up, a garbage bag full of clothes Zachary has outgrown.
As I’m dumping old Thomas t-shirts and bitty pairs of skivvies into the washer, the flash of yellow and blue catches my eye. What was that?
It sure looked small.
I reach in and pull it out, immediately knowing whose it is and as I stand there, holding the tiny “Little Brother” onesie in my hand, all I can do is cry.
I hold it to my face and inhale, hoping to get a tiny whiff of the babe that once inhabited this tiny shred of cloth. My mind plays tricks on me and I’m sure I can smell that newborn baby smell complete with baby formula tainted breath. I see that toothless grin and those baby blues, made that much bluer with the bit of navy blue around the collar.
I dry my eyes and slip the tiny memory into the pocket of my sweater.
I throw the rest of the clothes in and start the washer. I return to my aforementioned task of sorting the multitudes of crap upstairs.
Every now and then, I tentatively slip my hand into my pocket, confirming the existence of my treasure.
If only I could stitch it around my broken heart and through my empty arms. Aching with the want of something to hold on to.
I would. I surely would.
This post was written in response to this week’s Red Writing Hood’s writing prompt: Write a piece about finding a forgotten item of clothing in the back of a drawer or closet. Let us know how the item was found, what it is, and why it’s so meaningful to you or your character.
The piece should be less than 600 words and I am way proud of my 599. Please feel free to critique.