Wow! According to a recent slew of emails, I’m rich! I just need to send a bunch of money to a widow somewhere in the Middle East so she can come and share her fortune with me. I’ve won a half-dozen sweepstakes. And google wants to share its profits with me. Is that all? Hmmm. No. There was the gentleman who . . . well, never mind what he wanted.
It’s a good thing I have all these riches coming to me by email. I just found a home for my stuff that will cost about as much as my first apartment. It’s a nice place, lovely views, close to a garden, far from the highway, with good neighbors. Mostly seniors, or so the manager said. Too bad my stuff is inanimate and won’t have any idea how well I’m looking out for it.
I chose a space, smaller than I wanted, but with better insulation, and facing away from the wind and summer sun. It was also more than I wanted to pay, but the cheaper indoor storage units were downright creepy. The first one the woman showed me used to be an outside unit, but because of problems with rain, they had to build a wall to enclose the spaces. It was dark and oh, so dungeony! I could almost see hear the clanking chains and raspy calls for help.
The second space she showed me was bigger and brighter. Too bright. The narrow hall was covered with something that looked like white enamel, the expanse only broken by the cracks delineating the doors. I had to hold my breath when she unlocked the door lest the smell of formaldehyde from the rotting bodies within would assault my tender nose. No bodies, of course. At least not in that unit. I have no idea what was stored in any of the other units, but I wouldn’t be surprised to hear of illegal operations of the medical variety being performed within.
If this were a fairy tale, the third space would have been just right, but as grim as the adventure was to that point, it wasn’t one of Grimm’s. Although this space had a drive-up entrance, it had no insulation and faced the summer sun, and the resulting heat would have melted my china. (If I had any china, that is.) Wind blew dust into the space as we stood there, her looking expectantly at me, me trying not to look at the shady fellows lounging by the pickup three doors down.
Luckily, there was a fourth option.
So now my stuff has a home, or it will be when it’s safe inside. I’m not so settled. I do have a couple of offers of emergency bivouacs, but nothing more permanent than that. Some people are still trying to find me a place because they don’t want me to leave. Others seem to be rushing me on my way so I can fulfill their dreams of wondrous adventures. Even the songs that follow me in grocery stores and restaurants seem to be nudging me to leave. “You say you want to start something new . . . take good care . . . It’s a wild world . . .”
Even though I have but two weeks left in this house, I’m still taking it a day at a time, enjoying the comfort and luxury available to me while I’m waiting for all those sweepstakes and wealthy Middle Eastern widows to pay off.
Pat Bertram is the author of the suspense novels Light Bringer, More Deaths Than One, A Spark of Heavenly Fire, and Daughter Am I. Bertram is also the author of Grief: The Great Yearning, “an exquisite book, wrenching to read, and at the same time full of profound truths.” Connect with Pat on Google+. Like Pat on Facebook.