My daughter has done me in. Iâ€™m gone, departed, shipped out, bit the dust, shuffled off this mortal coil, joined the heavenly choir (singing off key). Iâ€™m pushinâ€™ up daisies, kicked the bucket, clocked out, left the building, crossed over the River Styx, bought the farm, croaked, exited the stage. And itâ€™s not just me sheâ€™s killed off but the poor Beleaguered Husband as well. Evidently there was a freakish hot air ballooning accident, a sudden gale storm, a gust of wind and some malfunctioning of the balloonâ€™s controls, caused by a collision with a large flock of unseasonably late Mallard ducks flying south for the winter. Certainly, no one could have predicted the sad and tragic event, the only comfort being that all aboard were killed instantly upon impact with the billboard advertising, Pea Soup Andersonâ€™s Restaurant and Inn.
Miranda has just graduated UC Santa Cruz with a Bachelors degree in literature, and very proud we are of her. Her final writers project was to write a 30-page fictional story. What better honor could befall me than to have my daughter, now a lovely young woman come of age, create a gripping tale of my death. I wonder what a good old fashioned Freudian psychiatrist would have to say about that?
The crux of the imaginative story is that after her father and I have met with our untimely death-by-ballooning misadventure, our daughter has returned home in bleak January to deal with all the loose ends, i.e., the clutter of our lives. That is, Clutter, with a capital C.
Being an intrepid lass, she seems, at first, up to the task, but when facing the daunting amount of Christmas decorations still decking and clinging to every room of the house from top to bottom, she begins to feel somewhat overwhelmed. From time to time, she thinks some of her motherâ€™s beloved ornamentations of snowmen, elves, angels, and even the sheep in the manger, who eye her suspiciously, even whispering behind her back. When a nutcracker becomes especially agitated, fearing the daughter of the house will not keep or treat the ten boxes of decorations with the same adoration and loving care her mother gave them, I wouldnâ€™t want to be in the daughterâ€™s Doc Martens. It is an intriguing story and has had several different endings. Weâ€™d argue back and forth over the final outcome, but then, what voice do I really have? Iâ€™m dead!
When my daughter first asked me to read the story she mumbled casually, something like, â€śOh, you might not like it. Sorry. I had to kill you off.â€ť
Whereas I am certainly a trooper and willing to take one for the team, her cavalier attitude toward her parentsâ€™ demise at her dainty, literary hands, was somewhat shocking, but Iâ€™m getting used to it now. Anything for a good story, allâ€™s fair in love and literacy. And if ever published, perhaps the dedication to â€śThe Legacy,â€ť by Miranda Anapol, will read,
â€śTo my beautiful mother, thanks for giving me life and thanks for letting me kill you. With everlasting love, here and beyond, your daughter.â€ť
To her credit, she has granted me another ten years before dispatching me to my final reward, in that she has made the daughter in the story ten years older than Miranda is now. If I start right away, it would no doubt take ten years to sort out and organize the accumulation of fantastic clutter that adorns our humble abode, not to mention the garage.
I have seen recently the current style of interior design (note I did not say dĂ©cor) preferred by the modern, millennium youth of today. The term minimal would apply. On a visit to my fine goddaughter, Amberâ€™s house in Santa Cruz, I observed all furnishings were clean natural wood, tables unadorned, colors kept in muted beiges and sandy browns, a few books on shelves, woven fiber throw rugs, and one soft, grass green couch. There was not one thing garish or that could in any way be defined as clutter, save the bicycle in the bathroom, but then that looked environmentally friendly and stood as testament to a healthy lifestyle. However, there seemed a disturbing plethora of potted house plants in white ceramic vases. I suspect they were prodigiously reproducing themselves as I thought I saw one suddenly appear, where it had not been moments before. And, I swear I could hear them, the Plant People, talking in the night.
Our Topanga house is the very antithesis of such calm and natural order. In fact, the word â€ścarnivalâ€ť comes to mind in aptly describing our motif or perhaps, Shabby Surf, with a nod to Tiki and beat-up mid-century modern. Everything in our house tells the story of those who have lived there and living, like birth and death, is sometimes messy.
Yes, after weâ€™ve gone for the big balloon ride in the sky, it could be a burden to leave our children an inheritance of such chaos. I grant them the right to dispose of it in any manner they see fit. Iâ€™ll even, organize a closet or two but obviously, I will not be leaving an orderly estate, valuable property, or cold cash, although there may be a few bucks in the cigar box under the bed. I promise, my dears, to try not to buy anymore Christmas decorations.
And I here bequeath you this legacy: make of it what you will. I will haunt you with love and squalor. Look for me in all things clutter and in odd occurrences or stopped clocks, one blue star shining, the ravenâ€™s caw, glitter on the ground, unmade beds, a soft breeze across your face, the chime of bells, spilled wine, catâ€™s eyes, and in the mystic magic of an October night when the moon is full. Oh, Iâ€™ll be there.