Monday, July 21, 2014

Vacant Lots


This morning the clouds hung low in the sky, gray and listless, humidity thick as molasses. Clear skies and sunshine would have helped. I had been dreading this day for months now, but there I was helping Patrick pack all of his worldly possessions in three cars for his latest trip back to Nashville, his new city. Pam and Paula were heading down with him along with Ryan, who would be driving the cavernous Buick.

Meanwhile, Kaitlin and Jon were busy packing up all of their wedding gifts, all of Kaitlin’s clothes and the remainder of her stuff from the attic in preparation for the trip to Columbia. They will begin their married life together in South Carolina, while Patrick will be trying to make his mark in Tennessee, both of them many miles from home.

Pam and I have been through this before, but in the past it was always temporary. This is the real thing. They are both grown and on their own, and my house feels empty, their old rooms like vacant lots, full of furniture but oddly still and lifeless. Pam won’t be back until Wednesday, so I’ll have a couple of days in this place by myself to get acclimated to the new reality.

I spent much of my day at the office working through my Dad’s financial affairs, paying the stray bills that keep trickling in through the mail. I spent nearly an hour talking with someone at Bank of America, trying to officially cancel a credit card that had a zero balance. It would require a copy of his death certificate to get it done, a certificate that I had to pay $12 for. Even after death Dad can’t escape the tyranny of our paper-pusher society. Dying isn’t cheap.

So now, I will pretend to watch a baseball game on TV while I think about how it could possibly be true that I have two grown people for children.

But first, I think I’ll close the doors to their rooms. There’s no point in standing in the doorways looking in anyway. Who wants to look at vacant lots? Besides, I hear that a redecorating project is in the works.