By Rhonda Lucas
My parents’ divorce was final. The house had been sold and the day had come to move. Thirty years of the family’s life was now crammed into the garage. The two-by-fours that ran the length of the walls were the only uniformity among the clutter of boxes, furniture, and memories. All was frozen in limbo between the life just passed and the one to come.
The sunlight pushing its way through the window splattered against a barricade of boxes. Like a fluorescent river, it streamed down the sides and flooded the cracks of the cold, cement floor. I stood in the doorway between the house and garage and wondered if the sunlight would ever again penetrate the memories packed inside those boxes. For an instant, the cardboard boxes appeared as tombstones, monuments to those memories.
The furnace in the corner, with its huge tubular fingers reaching out and disappearing into the wall, was unaware of the futility of trying to warm the empty house. The rhythmical whir of its effort hummed the elegy for the memories boxed in front of me. I closed the door, sat down on the step, and listened reverently. The feeling of loss transformed the bad memories into not-so-bad, the not-so-bad memories into good, and committed the good ones to my mind. Still, I felt as vacant as the house inside.
A workbench to my right stood disgustingly empty. Not so much as a nail had been left behind. I noticed, for the first time, what a dull, lifeless green it was. Lacking the disarray of tools that used to cover it, now it seemed as out of place as a bathtub in the kitchen. In fact, as I scanned the room, the only things that did seem to belong were the cobwebs in the corners.
A group of boxes had been set aside from the others and stacked in front of the workbench. Scrawled like graffiti on the walls of dilapidated buildings were the words “Salvation Army.” Those words caught my eyes as effectively as a flashing neon sign. They reeked of irony. “Salvation – was a bit too late for this family,” I mumbled sarcastically to myself.
The houseful of furniture that had once been so carefully chosen to complement and blend with the color schemes of the various rooms was indiscriminately crammed together against a single wall. The uncoordinated colors combined in turmoil and lashed out in the greyness of the room.
I suddenly became aware of the coldness of the garage, but I didn’t want to go back inside the house, so I made my way through the boxes to the couch. I cleared a space to lie down and curled up, covering myself with my jacket. I hoped my father would return soon with the truck so we could empty the garage and leave the cryptic silence of parting lives behind.
（选自Patterns: A Short Prose Reader, by Mary Lou Conlin, published by Houghton Mifflin, 1983.）