All That I Leave You

When you die, your will designates the beneficiaries who’ll receive the residue of your estate, basically the junk that’s left after your assets and significant possessions have been dispersed. I’d never seen the word residue used this way until I read my father’s will and realized he’d left his entire estate to his young wife and the residue of his life to my sisters and me. That is, we got the dust he left behind. His faded plaid shirts and broken down shoes, a Burl Ives record collection. So when I did an exhaustive weeding out of my old clothes last weekend, I was reminded of that awful word, residue. I sorted through probably eight years of clothes that had been stuffed into “Winter” and “Summer” tubs stacked in the basement. Dreary old cardigan sweaters (what was I thinking?), short skirts, ill fitting jeans, purses and pointy shoes, now thrown into heaps. I thought about my father and the worn shirts he’d left me, and how when I’d received them, I’d put them on to see if I could still feel him inside the cloth, but they hung lifelessly against my skin. The younger me who’d once filled out the residue now piled on the basement floor had disappeared too. The younger me was gone forever, while my residue awaited resurrection at Good Will.

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