On things

Saturday had rain.
         My apartment is full of things. A little too full. Some of these things are gifts from friends. The gifts from K are scattered throughout and are of either practical or ornamental use. The key word is use. The specificity with which K gave her things astounds me. This must be why I remember her so keenly each time I pass them.
         A tablecloth, which I used for a while as a blanket (she disapproved).
         A lace table runner.
         Soothing Chinese medicines that I know nothing about.
         A tablecloth and matching napkins.
         Three Moroccan bowls.
         Two tagine salt and pepper containers.
         A cup from Mexico from which I drank coffee in the morning, before she warned me that it probably contained lead.
         Two yellow vases from Mexico.
         A book by Nathaniel Hawthorne, after I told her how he was the only dead white writer I liked reading in high school.
         A bottle decorated in blue sand and feathers celebrating her cat, who died two years ago.
         That rainy Saturday I was thinking about her things. Somehow I started thinking about her photography, how she’d had such trouble with one digital camera and finally traded it in for one with more intuitive settings, and then how we’d gone to Cartagena together for our birthdays last year—forty for me, sixty for her—and took photos together everywhere. She was getting to know this new camera, and I was reacquainting myself with mine.
         That rainy Saturday I e-mailed her best friend of twenty-five years to ask if I could help sort through the things in her apartment. Throughout our exchange—my composing the e-mail, and then the enthusiastic and kind response I received half an hour later, and then my grateful response to him half an hour after that—I cried. I tried to stop at some point, because I’d only just recovered from a monthlong bout of asthma, triggered when I first found out she died, but my body said, Why stop? For the entire afternoon, that question: why stop?
         It is Tuesday morning, and raining again. I woke myself up from a dream at 5:30. As I watch the squirrels run back and forth across cable lines, the sky changes from that very satisfying and touching indigo blue to the hazy egg blue that always makes me think of dust, metal scavengers, an empty beach—what you see when the earth is about to turn. Before long, the sky will become white.