We’re getting new carpet, and that means every item needs to be off the floor today. Even the box. You know the box. Everyone has one.
My box was first my Grandmother’s box. When we packed her up in the middle of a blizzard in 1996 and moved her out of the apartment she’d rented since 1945, I stole a box of her belongings. They were her drawings. My Grandmother loved to sketch and I hear tales of my mother having painted a few canvases too.
In 1965 they bore her initials E.E. and sometimes Mom.
In 1970 she signed the sketches Grandma.
In 1973 she signed them Ama, because that’s what I called her, and upon seeing that I determined they belonged to me.
By 1996 my Ama was forgetful and angry, in 1998 she was just tired. By 2001 she’d forgotten that she’d quit smoking and cussing, though dying, she was lovely to me. Hideous to everyone else, but she always loved me best, and I was secure in that knowledge.
I’m embarassed to tell you that I don’t recall which year she died, but I remember her last breath. It was peaceful. I’m not sure what to do with the box today, I can’t quite throw it out and I don’t want to frame who she used to be. The simple act of moving it, of touching it, cautions me of the many hats I will inevtiably wear.