Finish

She was sure it wasn’t the last time it would happen.  Every part of her was pushing back against the possibility of this.  Her head ached.  The spot above her eye that always throbbed when she was worried was back with a vengeance.  She angrily pushed the hair out of her face and began again.  It seemed like the air was too thick.  Every breath seemed to be a chore.  The smell of summer drifted through the open window.  Children yelled to each other in the street below.  She had always loved summer.  Right now things she had always loved seemed far away, like something she had seen in a movie of someone else’s life.  Nothing had seemed real for quite some time now.

The buzz of her cell phone receiving a message startled her for a moment.  She glanced over at the phone but didn’t pick it up.  It would have to wait. This had to be done.

Her cat Frank brushed against her leg.  She looked down at him and rubbed his ears.  “Silly cat, it must be nice to live such a simple life.”  She stared at the spot on the floor where she had dropped a glass of red wine last year.  She had never been able to get the stain out.  It looked slightly rusty, almost like blood.  She shook her head in annoyance at her penchant for turning everything into something bad, sometimes something violent.  “I need to finish this Frank.”  Frank looked at her for a moment before returning to the business of grooming his fur.

There seemed to be no end to this.  She had tried so many times before and had failed miserably.  Most of her attempts to finish things were like this.  Her head full of ideas that would be so amazing if they came to fruition.  Projects she had begun but never finished.  This was no different.  Another failed mess.  She felt a tear trickle down her cheek and her tongue snaked out to taste the saltiness.  She refused to let any more fall.  Perhaps she needed to sleep?

That was it. Sleep. She stretches out on the wood floor.  The feel of the edge of the throw rug tickles the back of her calves.  Frank stalks over and sniffs her hand, meows, and turns back to go to his favorite spot on the back of the futon.  She closes her eyes and for a moment it seems she may be alright.  Another tear appears to have found a way out of her closed eye.  No use in trying to control them, her body seemed to do what it wanted, with no thought of what she may have planned.  She opens her eyes and sees a spider on her ceiling, moving with an intent she envies.  It is enough, she has to do it.

She sits back up and looks at the table.  There lies her job.  Her mother’s life in a few letters, a locket, and picture album with worn edges.  It is her job to look at them, to try to understand.  The package had arrived the day before with a letter attached from a woman who claimed to have known her mother.  The woman had written to say that her mother had put these things together after selling everything in her small apartment.  She had asked the woman to send it to her only child, her daughter.  According to the letter, her mother had then jumped to her death from the top of the building she used to call home.  No explanation, no suicide note, just a request to send this package.  The woman apologized for being the bearer of such horrible news.  She hated the woman.

She is now standing by the table and realizes that her tears are forming a puddle on the edge of the table top.  The collection of her mother’s items has become blurry.  She hurries over to the sink and gets a garbage bag from underneath.  She sweeps the items into the bag and runs to dump them into the garbage chute.  She listens to her mother’s life make its way down the chute, a few pings and bumps and then silence.  She takes a big breath, a sigh of relief.  Back in her apartment now, a cup of tea in her hands, curled up with Frank on the futon, a smile on her face.  For once, she has finished something.  She feels satisfied and proud.  Tomorrow is Wednesday and she has a date.  Tonight she will paint her toenails and go to bed early.  Frank looks up at her and begins to purr.  She buries her fingers in his coat and lays her head back and thinks about tomorrow.  As Scarlett said in one of her favorite books, tomorrow is another day.

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