I’m writing to you from the inside of a wooden cupboard thirty five years ago. The corners are swept clean. They are solid and sharp, exactly as corners should be. Sitting cross-legged, the bottom shelf can hold me with the doors pulled closed, I only need to bend my neck a little, a swan eying the surface of the water. I have nudged objects aside to enter and though the darkness is carbon black, I know what the shelves hold without looking. Extra linens, stacked like soldiers, proud chests held high. Rubber bands rolled into balls bigger than my hand. How unlucky, I thought, to be any but the outer. But hadn’t they all been on the outside to begin with and then buried and slowly squeezed tighter? They would never see the light of day again and I had the sudden urge to unravel them to the core, to free the captives.
I need to describe the basement which holds the cupboard, to let it break my heart. If I descend the wooden stairs, open-backed and painted pine needle green, to stand on cold gray concrete at the bottom, a pantry door still holds a pocked dart board. It’s slightly askew. So many sharpened tips have found their way into the surface that the numbers were hardly legible, even when I was small. The board had been holding court in that exactly same place since my father was a child. The nail that holds it is large and dark with age. On either side of the dart board, on the wooden flesh of the door, is ample evidence of poor aim.
You showed up breathless at my bedroom door weary from seventeen years of haunting. I still had four items left to strikeout on my to-do list but had the presence of mind to tuck the notebook under the mattress. No sense in resurrecting old grievances in this singular moment and the truth is, I’ve become more organized as time has passed. My day had gone perfectly according to plan except that I had failed to include reunite with dead sister at 9pm. Your hair was still a glorious forest fire and if I could have buried my face in it, I would have done so immediately. I wanted to hold your hand but my wrist had a mind of its own. I could not move and so I sat, fifty years old now and gobsmacked into silence listening to your voice running circles around the room.