One cupboard per day. Ten days of work. Everything is taken out, examined, touched, smelled, remembered. The purpose--the original purpose--was to put the house on a diet.
The dusty LPs brought back an era, a place, a person, like a match struck in the darkness. Little moments, long lost, lived again. Ella Fitzgerald, Sarah Vaughn, rainy, grey days, boarding school in England.
Hall and Oates' 'I Can't Go For That (No Can Do)' Fiona--marble-white skin, high cheekbones, piercing blue eyes, perfectly straight blonde hair--my first love. We captured each other, sailed through school, navigated the rocks of a long absence. Then we died. In a chapel, by chance, years later, her familiar, curling script blazed from the visitors book like a flame that seared my heart.
. . . A big stone, painted in three colours. It held open the oak door to an enchanted room which held the happiest memories of childhood.
The big windows had curtains that billowed out like the sails on a three-masted schooner. The floor, that blond ocean of parquet, broke into magical crackling at the slightest footfall.
For hours on end, I would wait for the legions of green goblins to come from the dark crack in the wall, and when they failed me, I sat in the middle of the floor and cried. The room was everything to me, and it seemed that everything in the world was in it.
My dust-cloth snags some forgotten bauble. Should it go? Or might it expand into some cherished vision of the past?
My kindergarten lunchbox joined me when I escaped, squeezing through the iron railing, past the feinting teacher, as I chased down the street.
Each thing seemed to have a little soul that sprang to life, unpacked its mysteries and made them live again.
In the end, I kept everything and forgot the diet for the house. The LPs returned to their sleeves, the painted rock went back to its corner, and I put the souls to sleep behind the heavy door.
Only the bauble remained untouched, at the front of the cupboard, waiting its turn for another chance to live.
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