I close the lid of the box and carry it to the kitchen. It feels heavy, which is strange. I only cleaned out the bathroom cupboard. The box contains a collection of half-used face creams, an empty spray can of deodorant and a bottle of pink nail polish. They’re items I won’t use. Does the box feel heavy because I’m struggling with the loss? Do I think by removing reminders of Anna, I’ll miss her less?
When you spend twenty years building a home, you fill it with things a family needs. The shells in the glass jar hold memories of family trips to the beach. The patchwork quilt, that’s older than all of us, tells stories of picnics and holds warmth from the sun in its bare threads. The movies I don’t watch. The books I won’t read. I even questioned whether I needed the printer before I remembered I use the printer too. Just not as much as Anna did.
When a child leaves home, it’s both an end and a beginning. Twenty years of photos adorn these walls. Twenty birthdays and Christmas trees, odd socks, and lost hair ties. Though I’m happy she’s starting a life of her own, she left a void that can’t be filled. Is that why I’m cleaning out the cupboards? To fill the void?
I start rearranging the crockery in the kitchen. I don’t need as many cups now. When I pick up the blue one, I pause. This one is Anna’s favourite. She’ll look for it when she comes to visit. I return the mug to the shelf and then retrieve the nail polish from the box. Maybe I’ll keep some of her things.