Saturday arrives early. I send emails: to my boss, canceling a business trip; to my coworkers, explaining my absence and making no guarantees about my return. I have already canceled my plans for the weekend, so once the emails are sent and the pets are fed, I find myself with nothing in particular to do.
I start to clean.
I begin in the garage, where we’ve been piling household items destined for charity or the dump, but also the place that came up in conversation with both the school counselor and the social worker. I back out my car and stand in the chilled space, surveying the clutter. This was the space The Departed once claimed as his, and the only thing that has changed since he left is the nature of the half-finished projects.
Rafters, they said: but there are no rafters.
Boxes have been moved, but there’s nothing unusual about that; Christmas is approaching, the boxes contain decorations. But the boxes haven’t been moved into the house, where the tree is; they are stacked beneath one of the garage door railings.
I inspect them. There are no signs of damage, which there should be if someone stood on them; they are thin, clear plastic – not sturdy enough to support much.
I survey the heaps of stuff, some of which has been on the garage floor as long as I’ve owned the garage. Extension cords lie in a chaotic heap, as they have since the Halloween lights came down, except for one, slightly off to the side, knotted into a noose.
It is all in plain sight, unless you happen to park your car in its usual space and exit on the other side.