Lately I’ve been visiting the consignment shop around the corner. It has lots of high-end furniture and various types of decor. Everything is styled so nicely.
On several occasions I’ve purchased something.
There is the birdcage I brought home one day. It just needed someone to tighten the screw to the hanger to be as good as new.
Often I go in and just stroll up and down in between furniture arrangements. And I look at all the things people have done away with for one reason or another.
One day I bought these red vases. The color appealed to me more than the shape. I knew I could find a place for them in my apartment.
I walk around and look at all the furniture and odds and ends of other people’s lives. Were their lives well-lived? Have they now passed on?
In the background, I hear other customers opening and shutting drawers of furniture. Some are measuring something to see if it will fit in their home. In their life.
But what I think about is, who did these things belong to? Did a parent die and the children didn’t care for the parent’s taste for furniture or decor?
Maybe they sent a big trailer over to the shop filled with things their mother loved. But that they don’t care to bring into their own homes for one reason or another.
Maybe there was a divorce and whoever got the house didn’t want the contents. Everything was a reminder of something beautiful that had gone bad.
Maybe they couldn’t bear to see the items they picked out together on vacations. When love was just a bud of promise. They had thought, of course, that love would bloom and become a lovely flower.
But then, as often happens, life got in the way. Or a job or another person. Or maybe over the years they simply drifted apart.
And after everything unraveled their beloved things ended up here, in this consignment shop. Destined to go home with someone else without the memories attached.
Was it hard, giving these things up? Did it make their heart heavy when they brought the items into the store and set them on the front counter? Asking if the owner of the store might try to sell them.
Did they walk away with sorrow or relief? Or maybe it was both.
If I look over at the couch and imagine Charlie laying there as he did so many times, I come undone.
Yesterday what got caught up in my memory was him sitting in the passenger seat of my car as I drove along.
He would stare ahead as if he knew exactly where we were going.
My sweet little man, so trusting and precious. He loved those car rides.
Remembering this, seeing it in my mind, meant I cried off and on for the duration of the day.
Maybe grief and feeling sentimental sent me into a store I’ve passed hundreds of times but didn’t bother to enter.
To see lives now on consignment. Items that once belonged to someone else’s story. And I wonder what that story was.
These items from another life left behind. And at some point meant to go home with a stranger. To then be a part of their own story.