The New Old

Weird. That's what it feels like visiting here again. Seeing my old life packed in boxes, stored away carefully, just in case there's a return in the distant forecast.

What is it about visiting parents as an adult, them in their old age, that envelopes you into waves of melancholy? They aren't the strong ones anymore. My remaining parental unit has become a hoarder. There.....I said it.

The fridge, lovingly filled with my favorite foods and treats sit next to expired cheese, moldy fruits, and rotten vegetables. The bottom drawer held a collection of aluminum stones, each containing samples of food preserved for that rainy day which passed over many times, each time, the tiny morsels forgotten.

Upstairs, a coordinated mess. Old bedroom furniture, dismantled, barricaded by boxes upon boxes of years worth of irrelevant paperwork.
All kept, just in case.
The paper shredder sits in one corner feeling obsolete, helpless. It cries to be used, to feel needed, to feel productive, but no one answers his call. A layer of dust settles over him and he fades into the oblivion that has become the 'bonus' room.

There's a love seat and recliner in there. But you wouldn't know it. It's covered by heaps of trash bags full of toys and stuffed animals saved for grandchildren. The grandchildren, initially happy to see any toy not in their daily lives, smile gleefully and play earnestly. For five minutes. Then the carefully kept toys and stuffed animals become too old or meant for babies or just plain boring.

I'm reminded of when my parental unit visited me months ago, in my home, across the country. The suitcase was unpacked into an empty chest of drawers next to a garbage bag labeled 'For Donation.'

You really ought to clean up this place more often, said the parental unit.