The good luck bamboo had bit the bullet. Kaput. Mold had grown at the base, where the watering happened, and devoured it. Its green vibrancy leached into California summer yellow; the golden state of decay. It looked a farce in its happy orange ceramic pot. A farce on a messy hope-chest with unused canning supplies crypting cobwebs in cedar graves.
The books on the shelves were gathering dust. The shelves, self-hung, were sagging in the center under the weight. She hadn’t used the level right. The brackets were too far apart. There was something of her impatience in the haste of their posture. The Chinese dog statues who guarded the bounded paper hearts looked like tired bookends. Their mouths gaped in passively defiant yawns. Past selves rested on those weary shelves. They looked like crooked tombstones against the bone white of the wall.
It always came down to the dishes. Something about the menial-ness of the task eased the restlessness. Each piece would be washed in ceremonial precision, one dish at a time. She would hand dry each item because there was no counter space, not even for a dish rack. She could feel the clutter of the tiny space intrude upon personal boundaries. Her mind took refuge in the chaos. She washed the dishes like a zealot– these dishes were being baptized! Praise the god of domesticity; she was washing for a new soul.