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She had packed the box carefully. All things found their place. Some smaller bits drifted down to the bottom, while the larger, more cumbersome, items settled where they would. Nothing took any more space than required. She could have sworn that there had been no room left when she had set down the lid. Still, she felt that this box was slightly lighter than the others. Not as densely packed. It was too late in the day to gather anything else, so this would have to suffice. It was difficult to tell, anyway, without comparing directly. Maybe she only thought this box was lighter. No way to know.
She shuffled toward the garage, kicking at hem of her housecoat as she crossed the mudroom doorway. That damned door sill was still loose and had a nasty habit of clawing at anything dangling within its reach. The door had come down years ago, so the sill had no partner against inclement weather anyway. She had meant to gather the hammer and tack it down. Maybe tomorrow.
She slowly spun her back toward the storm door that led to the garage and gently edged it open, careful not to upset the contents of the box. It seemed to have taken most of the day to pack it. What’s a little extra care to preserve all that work? Time well spent, she decided.
There was still the last hint of pale light coming through the kitchen window, but the garage was dark, as always. Without turning, she snaked her arms back into the darkness and found a spot to fit the box into. It slid in perfectly, as it was meant to. She quickly retrieved her hands and jolted forward, letting the door swing in behind her. She felt that moment of lightheadedness, a catch in her chest, as the door creaked and clicked shut.
The storm door had seemed redundant when the garage had been built, but now she was thankful for it. She smiled meekly and nodded to the storm door before relocking it and pushing closed the inside door. As dark as it was in the garage, it must be even worse between those two doors. The thought made her shiver. She double checked the inside lock.
Morning. What do we do in the morning? Tea with milk. Toast. Raspberry jam. No, blueberry. Only blueberry left. Tidy up a bit. Organize the photos. Make a list.
She liked to write the list longhand. She could type it. She had been exceptional on a keyboard. Certainly she retained those skills in her hands, even if she seldom applied them. Typing, and problem solving. No, not problems. Puzzles? Something with a great deal of strict thinking, but not much arithmetic.
In any case, she was convinced that she could type the list, but she liked the feel of pen on paper. Those marks felt permanent.
Gathering. Also there was gathering. Collecting items for the box. Most would be on the list, but sometimes other things would get in there too. She made every effort to stick to the list. Some items are just too small to keep good track of.
In an instant, it was evening. The light through the kitchen window swept in grey and fading. Just a few more things to pack. She kept it all as neat as she could. Making the best use of the space in the box. Careful and organized. Nestling the contents as well she could. Sometimes jutting edges and protrusions made it difficult, but in the end, she managed it.
Convinced that nothing more could be coaxed inside, she placed the lid and slid it down snug.
Maybe lighter than it should be? The boxes are usually heavier. She could sense no shifting of the contents, so the box must be full, but still she wondered.
Back toward the garage. The sill on that mudroom doorway still needed tamping. She looked down as she crossed it, careful not to catch any stray fibers of housecoat. What good was a sill without a door anyway.
The inside door to the garage was already open. She must have done that earlier. That was helpfull. She wouldn’t need to put down the box to open the storm door.
She pressed her back up against it. A chill from the door passed ghostly through her housecoat. It made her pull her shoulders up and tremble.
The door opened easily. Still very dark in the garage. Always so dark. She reached her hands around without turning her face toward the darkness. Even so, it was hard to tell if her eyes were open or closed. The box found its place, and slid in easily. One quick step forward, back into the mudroom. She felt her breath, sharper than she liked. She heard the storm door click shut behind her, and reached back to lock it without ever looking at it.
Morning. What do we do in the morning? Tea. Toast. Something in it. Something on it. Some tidying, shifting items around. Look over the photos. She must have taken at least a few of them. The ones she wasn’t in. Make a list. Write it out by hand. No other way to do it, really. Items for the box.
It’s getting dark. The box seems light and loose. It’s filled to the top, but it feels too insubstantial. The boxes should be packed tight. She placed the lid and pressed it down. It pays to take your time, do things right. In the proper order.
She passed by the doorway into the mudroom. There is a sill, but no door. Why would you have one without the other. The garage storm door is just barely open. She must have gotten it ready. Easier to carry the box that way.
She pressed the storm door open with her back and thrust the box toward the darkness. It was lifted away from her hands so gently it took a moment before she knew it was gone.
Back into the mudroom. Lock the door.
Morning. What do we do in the morning? Tea. Toast. Make the list. The list seems short today. So few items. It may be a struggle to fill the box. She stared down at her housecoat, down at the floor below it. What would go in the box tomorrow?
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