"We should start at the middle," she decides, seated in front of the bookcase.
The electric kettle snickers "Water's ready for tea."
"I'm taking Nellie."
"Are you making eggs?"
"I was thinking maybe you take Nellie, pick up some coffee and those egg sandwiches, and then I remembered all the eggs in the fridge."
Nellie does a fancy trick. She waits about a block to pee. We have a corner lot with ample yard, but we try putting her out and she sits at the bottom of the steps. In winter snow she will do her business and scamper back. Why she waits a block? Unlike our friend's dog, Jake, who stays with us on occasion, pees like a tagger, marking tree after tree, reclaiming every sidewalk pee stain, Nellie is a feminine model of efficiency. By that I mean she can do it and be done with it, a good nice long squat. How she patiently waits a block, strategy? Feint here and there, throw her scent, make those loony boys wonder, keep 'em guessing.
I do not expect her to poop until the fourth block.
When I get back, lovely, "Breakfast is ready." Scrambled eggs with cheese on a wheat tortilla.
I will pack that bookcase happily.
An eager, would be buyer, could not help but admire our books. A librarian, he surmised our essence from the collection of fiction and the implied syllabi of social work in systems.
A narrow gambit, flattery by pegging people. It rubbed us the wrong way at first, and then, until we got higher offers, it almost worked. We felt a connection to this guy. Odd, had he commented on any of the personal pictures of Kay with girlfriends--we would have called security. Books--is it because I'm white--I need people to read me indirectly by what material objects I possess?
Like the wizard of Oz, I want a portentous voice, a palace. The levers and bellows I use to think my way into grandiosity--books. Oh sound and fury, my small neighborhood-mind wants to get out, see the pyramids while flying a magic carpet, circumnavigate the globe while chasing Moby Dick.
The spiritual bookcase beside the bed has offerings of solace, wisdom, balm of Gilead. In the Paulist Prayer Book, an Eastertide reading of Acts sets me aside Ananias receiving the angelic message to go to the street called straight, and there, seek out the man named Saul of Tarsus.
Do I pack it, or keep it on the shelf another week? The train of ordinary time has departed. We look closely at what we have. We sift. We refine what we keep, what we use to decorate, what we need to still call this place our home.
Beneath the kitchen table a growing mass of boxes await our friendly movers. In I forget which one, marked books, a thin pamphlet from the Critical Thinking Institute I found one day in the Boston College Philosophy Department hallway, evidently disposed by professor Stephen Pope, entitled something about questions. Handling it briefly this morning, I read a line exhorting the virtus of the quality of the question. Its not in the content of what we want to know, critical thought, but in the examination of prejudices, assumptions, noticing what we believe as a result of understanding the questions--we have taken a habit of asserting...as the facts we dwell on.
The issue of belonging, packing, itemizing the colorful world of our condo, and in the meantime, arrange for our insurance coverage to take effect at our new home, by the way--is a matter of estimation--$50,000 in personal property? On second thought, $2,000? Josh matter-of-factly tells me he can cover seven million, when I try a joke, but Kay has given away the jewelry I gave her. Beginning to list off what might be in our bathroom, down to the toothbrush and soap, he argues, it adds up. Surely $2,000 is too little.
Walk away with all we have. Go to the pawn shop, I declare!
That jade plant, that peace lily that never bloomed until I came into Kay's life, that original print by such an artist, google "artist jewish windows" remind yourself of Chagall; the Sr. Corita PEACHE and those pieces by artists you don't know, but Kay met. The heirloom birds from my grandmother's travels, the clothes from Brian, my wedding suit. The electric toothbrush beneath the Guatemala art from my friend, the doctor who survived torture.
What do you have on display, or ready to use? What does it mean in a box taped shut?