Clearing Out Daddy’s Basement

by Anne Anthony

Daddy hands me a folder thick with papers.

“Hospital bills?”

“What it cost to bring you six kids into the world.”

I’m fifty-one. Daddy’s a hoarder.

“Put in the stack to keep.”

The goal is to clear out his basement. The cans stocked on the floor-to-ceiling shelves bear long expired used-by-dates. He lived through the Depression. That hunger sticks.

“Enough for today.”

He shuffles in his boxy shoes, breathes heavily.

“Get off my mother’s trunk!”

I jump, feel clumsy like an elephant, then pull off piles of blankets to reveal the aged steamer trunk.

“Can I have it?” I ask, wanting some piece of his life.

He nods. “No place for it in Assisted Living.”

I hold my breath, but he doesn’t say it. Where they send you to die. His lips quiver, press together, and he smirks, like I missed the punchline of his inside joke.

About the author

Anne Anthony is a graduate of New York University with a Bachelors of Arts in English and Carnegie Mellon University with a Masters in Professional Writing. She is a full-time writer living in Chapel Hill, NC.

 

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