The book was sitting there. It’s cover looked almost new even through its years of use. It had been kept well. The cover was dark blue, so deep that one could get lost just staring at it. It sat there, alone. It was the last thing in the room. Everything else had already been thrown out, or packed up and moved out. Should it stay there as a memorial to the years that were compressed into those pages? Should it be thrown out with the trash? Should it be kept as a memory of things past? Should it be kept for … her?
She heard the washer buzz and it pulled her out of the depth of the blue, of the past, of the future.
She climbed the stairs from the basement, shook open the accordion folded door, and began to change the wash.
This was the final load. She saw no point in moving dirty clothing. She wandered into the den, feeling overwhelmed by the empty space that was left behind. As if it, too, had to be moved.
She walked through the den and into the foyer, stood in the tiny bathroom by the front door, and lit a match.
She inhaled the smoke.
She exhaled with a sigh.
She climbed the stairs to the upper floor, looked out over the balcony at her home – soon no longer hers, peaked into her sons’ rooms, and at last entered her room for the last time.
She lay down on the floor where the bed once was, closed her eyes, and tried to imagine her future. She would miss the stairs, the space, the freedom. She had no desire to be boxed in.
And yet, the day was here. Change is inevitable and nothing turns out as one might hope or expect. The years in this house, the years before that were chronicled behind the blue cover, were proof.
The laundry was packed into a box and all that was left was to make the decision.
Sometimes we think we want to know, she thought to herself, and then we discover when it is too late that to never know would have saved us heartache and confusion.
It was impossible to know what was yet to come, and she had carried the book from her last home without any question.
So why was she questioning now? Was it time to bury the past and let it die along with abandoned dreams? Was there something she was running from?
She lit one final match and then she knew.