Yesterday, the tenth anniversary of Dad’s death dawned gray in my married home. I looked at my husband, whispered, “I can go back.”
He hugged me and said, “Go.” I drove the hundred miles from our small town to the countryside where I grew up, memories making their way back mile by mile.
Now in the still house, the creak of the closet door rings and lingers where once language and laughter filled the kitchen. Inside, I dig through musty shirts, jackets, and hats Dad wore over seasons as he chopped wood, trimmed plants, and shoveled snow to keep us connected with friends and neighbors. I search until I find it--the broom. Bringing it out, I gaze back at my path taken today from entryway to closet.
Such a long, slow journey to return here, I marvel at the familiar books calling my name and the handsome grandfather clock striking the hour. My steps had left footprints in the settling dust of ten years, so I began to sweep.
Broom bristles leave a series of lines and patterns. I sweep again and again to clean every inch. The swishing has a rhythm, and I find myself humming a tune. After what seems but a minute, the dust disappears; no longer do I see my footprints on the floor.
I return to the closet, open the door once more. The creak still startles, no longer lingers.