We'd been in Valley Ford for a week on account of a sewer backup (#real). When we returned to new floors and an empty house, it was my job to reassemble our lives. "Unpack" the boxes. Too many layers to count here.
I've been around my share of OCD people, so I tried to resist the urge to clean my mother's shells -- the ones that live in a Cost Plus World Market glass vase. I'm weak, however, so I succumbed. Upon picking up the prominent, yet dusty, cowrie shell on top -- I remembered that one, so smooth, so soothing -- I saw that she had labeled it with a perfect little "62" sticker that somehow lasted for half-a-fucking century. "62" coincided with her shell-type list: "Cowrie Shell, Captiva Island."
So we could learn and remember. Each shell, ever-etched into a vivid memory.
Her handwriting, my tears.