Now What?

Vacation’s over. This morning was supposed to be a fresh start, a back-to-work Monday morning at the computer. I wondered a few times during the week whether or not I’d like coming back to the blog. It would be easy to abandon it, not having written more than a few words in my journal all week. I never got that hit of inspiration I had been hoping for. I didn’t fill my notebook with fresh ideas. I went to the beach and played in the waves. I hiked through caves. I ate out. And when the weekend came, I welcomed some time alone with a book I borrowed from the library. Not a poem in sight. Not a post in mind.

Then came morning. I was half-awake when my husband warned me that there was a situation in the bathroom that needed attention and would take more time than he had to give. He was sorry to leave me with the mess, especially since I had a headache, and oh by the way, it involved the wicker basket.

“What wicker basket?”

“The green one. The hamper.”

Oh, that wicker basket? The one that belonged to my grandmother? That green wicker hamper that I’ve had for twenty years? The one from my childhood. The one that I know is falling apart, but I’ve kept anyway because you can’t find hampers like that anymore, and besides that, it was NANA’s!?!?

Yeah. That one.

My daughter’s disabled cat, a too-rapid switch of her food, and wicker. That is how I woke to this Monday, this vacation’s-over-hot-and-humid-Monday. I scrubbed floors and walls and wicker, before finally giving in to the obvious and sending the hamper out to the trash. It was falling apart. It was old. It was not salvageable. But it was Nana’s.

It’s a good thing that I don’t talk to myself out loud, or I would have had to explain why I spent the rest of the morning muttering, “You’re not a hamper. I know you’re not a hamper,” while talking to my dead grandmother. I don’t even know for sure whether she LIKED that hamper. For all I know, she couldn’t wait to get rid of it. Still, for me, it was a piece of her and that other life, the childhood one, when the family gathered at Nana’s on Sundays and holidays. The life that included sleepovers there with my cousins, and in later years, quiet visits just to sit and chat over a cup of tea. None of those memories involve a green hamper, but somehow over the years, I infused them into its nooks and crannies. Letting it go meant letting more memories go, and I haven’t enough left to discard them so easily.

Still, it had to go. So I took deep breaths and wiped away the few tears that I hadn’t quite managed to control, and I tried to smile at my own granddaughter’s chatter while she fed me pistachios and cantaloupe and bites of her cookie.

“Nana to Earth!” she yelled in my ear. “Are you in imagination land?”

Not anymore. I’m right here, while you make memories.

She threw her arms around me and said, “I LOVE YOU! You are wonderful to hug, you’re so squishy.”

Not a hamper in sight.

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