The Movement of Angles
Everything of my life with her piled in the corner. As if a room full of artefacts and belongings had tilted to one side and the contents had all assembled in one place where the angles of the room came together. It didn’t seem so much. Books and jewellery, gloves and scarves, photographs and obsolete electricals; receipts and notes, sketchpads and worn pencils. All these things.
The human body tells a story, the mind a novel, but these items are the appendices of a life – the details you cannot see in a person, cannot tell from the thoughts, voiced and unvoiced.
The pencil chewed at one end, blunt at the other: a day spent drawing and ruminating over her father’s illness, the pencil worn down to nothing as she drew birds and trees and thought over and over of death and what it meant to her, in that moment, on that day – what it would mean from that time on, the tangible fact of death, visible and known.
The receipt for the portable alarm clock that had told bad time a week after she bought it, when we were in Spain; the clock we had replaced while still on holiday out of necessity (who takes an alarm clock on holiday – she did) and never took back for a refund. Eleven pounds and ninety nine pence, and it never told us the true time – it lied to us and stole from us.
Bereaved gloves, three of them, all had lost a twin. This pair on top of the pile – one red, one green with yellow stars – she wore as a set for a few months until they were replaced with a smart black pair for her birthday and which now sit on the bottom of the pile. Black gloves were invisible – no one notices black gloves; red and green and yellow and stars shine in the street and the snow, the dark evening and the twilight waiting.
A yoga mat and a carrier bag full of carrier bags. A newspaper with a highlighted article about a library closure in a town I don’t think she ever visited. A telephone she used to look up old numbers of the dead and the estranged. These things had stories. The stories had stories.
The pile shifts and settles. There is a crinkled gasp as a plastic bag moves, and a scrape as a corner of a book drags across the corrugated card of a box lid. These are the things I hear.
I wait for it to move again, everything of my life with her piled in the corner, in the space where the walls come together and we pull apart. I don’t think of her mouth as it tries to talk, or her fingernails as they attempt purchase against the weight of the box. I don’t think of those.
I remember the small details and the little things, the moments and the minutes of the days that pass while we blink, the smiles and glances, the words and kisses and the voice on the wind carried away.
Everything of my life with her piled in the corner where the angles of the room came together. It didn’t seem so much.