At home, a sense of liberation comes over me: I am in control, my decisions are final. I purge: Bags of clothing, boxes of dishes and toys, are hauled to the thrift store; a broken chair is deposited at the dump.
When the garage is cleared, I move on to the extra bedroom, the one that was always intended for the other child I didn’t have, and since the Departure, for houseguests that don’t visit, but which has always actually been the room where junk and clutter can accumulate behind a door that can be closed when people come over.
Huge bags of clothing sit in piles against the wall, and I open each bag to sort the contents, I discover clothing I bought just a few weeks earlier; these are the things that have been tried on and discarded each morning, over and over until we’re both late, and it dawns on me that maybe her endless changes of clothing weren’t a deliberate effort to make me late. Maybe she really is so lost that she suddenly hates things that she loved just a short time before.