“The condo will soon be on the market. There is so much those four walls hold inside the beams and drywall. I went from room to room looking for memories, the happy and sad evidence of Angie’s presence. There it is, the cigarette hole in my sheets, the burn marks on the porcelain sink where she carelessly left her butts. The black dye she spilled on my new wood floors that I tried to sand away. The bottle of muriatic acid in the laundry room I had no clue about at the time. Why didn’t I throw it away years ago? I remembered the night she had free-based and lost her eyelashes, noticed the knife mark on the door she had locked and couldn’t open. I walked around and felt the walls she had brushed against, sat in her favorite chair, ate from her Asian bowls, smelled her perfume on the jacket she’d left hanging in the closet. They were everywhere, the reminders of Angie’s presence, of the cruel illness that had claimed her, of her loss of self. Why haven’t I walked away from all that sooner? Many would have. What does that say about me?
But Angie, my daughter, was there too. I left them around, remnants of her lost innocence: the hand-painted ceramic heart for “The Greatest Mom in the World” on Mother’s Day in 1988; the picture of wild geese she bought me at the flea market in Greece; the dried coral roses she gave me for my birthday one year; the Scrabble game we played together on her weekend visits in 2010; pictures of her on holidays there with family while she was in recovery. How could I have known then how fleeting it would be?”