I keep waiting for someone to call, telling me everything and nothing is mine. What do you do when you get there and everything is how it was in one sense and nothing will ever be how it was in another? What do you do with no one to talk to, no one to listen to, no one to listen to impatiently, begrudgingly, distractedly. Do you take a shower? Squeeze your eyes shut in the water, the shower head dripping for them; quickly turning the knob off, listening so hard for someone something anything in the house knowing there’s nothing to hear? Or maybe first, after you’ve let yourself in, you stoop down and place the lonely slipper by the staircase next to it’s other in a row of shoes. Because, who else will do it now? Or ask you to? How long do you wait to look in all the places you weren’t allowed to go? Feeling awkward, shameful, and sad, wishing you could still be caught? The nice leather chairs and seats will never be pre-warmed for me, slowly losing an impression, now forever gone. I strain to hear the quick efficient slap-slapping of feet echoing lightly on the cold tile floors but silence and the massive kitchen stands over, around me like a granite countertop shroud, once perfect for all of us, now monolithic and comically empty. What should I do with the things in the refrigerator? A lot of it is still good, is it weird to eat it? Is that what people do? Is that what they would have wanted? For me not to waste the food? For me to sit as numb and wilted as the freezer burned lettuce I reluctantly eat? The tears sliding off my face to make a salty dressing on the rotten dusty foods I will into my mouth, punishing myself for being alive, for all the times I wasn’t understanding, or simply because it feels like I should. Will there ever be a moment, from now until the end of my life, where I do not ask these questions? Will I ever stop searching and making decisions for their post-life approval, which will slowly have so little to do with who they actually were and become my own irrational superstitions and regulations, nothing like their very real human approvals and disapprovals.
Besides the loss itself, there is the added sadness of those things I won’t inherit. The sadness that there is no real collective memory passable in a conscious way. Running my hands through all of the things I’ve never seen, running my mind through all the things I’ve seen a hundred times, finding no resolution for the missing connections. I never get to ask them, oh! Where did that little bronze elephant come from? Where was that picture taken and what were you doing? I only ask myself, myself as them, myself as them trying not to be myself, becoming a different kind of buried, suffocating in a maze of secrets, unanswerable questions, doomed to imagine. All I can do is wait in this tomb of perpetual mystery, for the other inherited things to show themselves, an exact wrinkle here, a gesture or habitual tic there- maybe the same places on my body will sag, maybe I’ll have the same response to a joke, maybe a small likeness in the slowness of a smile. Though the womb is long gone, I’m still here in it’s cavity, slowly being born, inheriting and perpetuating you, eventually fizzling in my own time.

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