Things To Still Do

Things To Still Do-

1. Sweep kitchen- the dogs’ fur is everywhere.
Why do I care for? I can’t see it anyway, but she would
point that out to me.
2. Find a reason to smile.
3. Call everyone- thank them.
4. Clean the closet.

I’m such a closet list maker. That’s what comes to mind as my feet remain cemented to the floor as I stand with the door open looking in. What am I staring at? Your clothes. The soft white light of the bulb above the door frame spotlights various colors and fabrics waiting to be plucked from the rack. I can’t push myself to move forward just yet, the fastball grip I have on the knob would choke out its agreement I’m sure. I get my sense of humor from you, sarcastic, light, and a practical joker. I learned that early on.

Both of us are sitting in the car together years earlier, heads together laughing at our ingenuity to lift my aunt Sherri’s pack of cigarettes while she went to make a phone call. What were we doing with them? We were replacing her half used pack of smokes with a new pack that was rigged to blow up, intermittently of course. My idea, your agreement to the mission made us a team (which was rare), and our intended victim made it all the more fun. “Kid, you realize she’s going to hit the roof right, she may not forgive us for a while?” I chuckle, “Good, it’s about time we get her, she’s always bragging about how good she is at getting us.” We go back into the building.

My aunt not back yet, chuckling we plant the filled cigarettes where Sherri had her old pack on the table. Then we sit and wait. She arrives back at the table and doesn’t light up right away. Damn, come on, we look at one another across the table eyebrows raised. The building we were in is humming with a couple hundred people, including deaf grandma Thelma sitting across from Sherri at our table. Boy, was grandma going to get a show. I almost blow it by chuckling before the big event. Just when the noise started to die down and we thought she was never going to light up, she did. At first she thought she had a defective nicotine stick because that particular one fell apart. Crap. Then she pulled another out and lit up. It was a live one. Pop!

The cigarette end blew apart sending nick-bits and paper all over the table and she lost it. Crap. She cursed more fluently (in English) than my grandpa Al did when he used his colorful farm analogies about cows and pigs (in German and Russian) when he was mad. People around the crowded hall were laughing, my co-conspirator and I turned beat red from lack of oxygen, even deaf grandma was laughing (which was scary rare)too. Sherri was so angry at that point, we admitted nothing as she proceeded to pick apart each and every cancer stick on the table. Her paranoia made us laugh harder at the picture she made digging in the tobacco laced paper. Later on, in the evening my partner and I admitted what we had done. Sherri went on record as saying, “That was mean and you could’ve hurt someone.” Oh please, this coming from a woman who tepeed houses with her son the summer before. She didn’t speak to us for a month.

However, that small practical joke you and I plotted and executed together carried us on the same secretive grin with one another when ever my aunt (who didn’t like to be called aunt) visited. I loved that we were on the same team together. The endless lectures of possibly amputated body parts and what is funny vs. malicious I received from Sherri was worth it. You and I knew she was just blowing smoke because we had gotten the upper hand and the score had just increased in our favor. Sherri was all talk, like a manager kicking dirt at the umpire, all bluster no back up.
Yes, my sense of humor is definitely from you. The overnight bag I took that day grazes my left hand as if to say, it’s okay kid you can do this. My hand loosens its hold a bit and my attention switches to your bag which is hanging above it. Carefully I take it off the hook, hold it to my chest, and sit in a cross legged position on the floor. Cradled in my lap I take the contents out.

1. Green shirt & black stretch pants
2. Cigarettes & lighter
3. Brush, lipstick, toothbrush
4. Humorous romance book

I stare at these things I gathered for you in a hurry. The shirt has your essence. I hold it to my nose and smell you on it. I gingerly put it down and pick up the book. I unfold the corner you had folded somewhere in the middle and skim the words, something about one character playing a practical joke on the other and the person it was directed at not having a sense of humor. Yeah you had a twisted sense of humor that would come out at the oddest times, I grin picking up the shirt and hold it to my cheek.

Laying on the bathroom floor moaning and groaning about possibly catching the nasty flu I had the week before or food poisoning. I wiped your forehead with a towel while my gut clenched for the pain you were in. I wondered if I would get used to being on the other side of the dugout taking care of you instead of you me. You were good at that, making me feel better when I was sick as a child. I felt inadequate for the position I held as I sit there with you on the floor. Then as if you sensed my uneasiness that twisted side of you came out that only I ever heard, “Ya know, I feel like Elvis lying here.” Then I replied, with an inward grin and exaggerated roll of my eyes that would always get on your nerves, “Very funny mom.” Ironically that was your last joke.

1. I set the shirt aside- not wanting to let you go yet.
2. I stood up & closed the closet door- quietly.
3. I picked up your things
4. I shut the light off and walked out- alone.

Things to still do-
1. Clean the closet, not today- it’s only been a week. I’ll go sweep the kitchen floor instead.

Things To Still Do


Beaverton, United States

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  • Sharon Perrett
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