Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Worldly Goods

Mom cleans my jewelry
What of all your worldly goods do you pull from the charred and soggy embers of your home if given the chance? At that moment, it was just a drawer full of jewelry: some bought at estate sales, some gifted by people special to me. They're not quite diamonds, or even almost diamonds, but they’re diamonds to me.

The Coroner had come and gone, and the young fireman preceded me up the stairs. My door and Marks stood wide open (mine white, his charred black). The entire roof had caved in on both our homes, and we carefully walked back towards the bedroom. I handed him a shopping bag and pointed to the chest of drawers. While he did that, I upended the trunk full of family pictures hoping they would survive, until I could get help to rescue it. I noticed the laundry I’d been sorting and put 4 pair of jeans over my arm.

As we passed the kitchen, I grabbed another ecco-grocery bag hanging on the pantry door. I stepped across the soggy kitchen floor and took the bottle of Tito’s vodka my sister had brought me from Atlanta, back out in the hallway, I took the sparkly ruby slipper shining from the bookcase shelf full of soggy books and put it in the bag.

Nothing else caught my eye, except the tall black statue that was a gift from Mark a year back. The fireman and I descended the stairs, and I was instantly engulfed in hugs. Patti and Ree were there. I turned to respond to a woman frantically asking, “where’s Mark?” My shaking head and face said it all and as she burst into tears, I realized too late, it was Mark’s mother. I felt bad; I felt insensitive, but there are no right words to say that unsayable truth. I still didn’t believe it myself. We hugged; she cried; I cried.  Her husband came, and then more family. They took her home.

I just wanted to get in the car and drive away, too. I still stood with the myriad things that must be done. Give names and details to the fire chief and the police and formally request copies of their reports. They would not be ready for well over a week. Pick up Jazmine from the Parcak's house.

Patti and Ree walked with me to the car I’d re-parked in front of Greg and Sarah’s house. We put everything in the trunk and said goodbyes. I was still on automatic pilot; go to the store for cat food and litter for Jaz, beer, toothbrush, toothpaste for me, pick up Jaz.  They say you can't go home again, but where do you go when you've lost all your worldly goods and the roof over your head.  Of all the offers of sanctuary I had, there was only one real choice.  I poured me a go cup, strapped Jaz's carrier in the passenger seat and headed home to Mom's house in Hoover.

Next: Back to the Scene

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