An Excerpt from "The Vicar and the Spy": A Storage Unit in Cypress

Copyright Beabe Thompson 2013, all rights reserved

A Storage Unit in Cypress

Amelia rolled a huge door up in the largest of storage units in her name at the Cypress Uncle Bob’s Storage. Her accountant had asked for some records for the previous year, so she found herself searching inside on a beautiful Saturday afternoon. Bankers box after box was stacked up and carefully labeled, some in Liam’s handwriting, some in Amelia’s, some in Fin’s, and quite a few unrecognized hands. Probably from friends who helped pack the house.

Five units. Five units filled with family photo albums, college yearbooks, school pictures, family antiques, knickknacks. Every time Amelia came to work on it, the sadness and loss stopped her. How was she ever to get through it all she asked herself? Her sisters-in-law had offered to help, and she thought it was time. Take some vacation days and sort when they were available and carve the number of units down to one or two.

She slid though a bank of boxes and went all the way to the back, making sure the maximum amount of time was turned on. The tax boxes were clearly labeled in Liam’s hand up to two years ago, then it was Fin’s writing. He’d been the one who packed his brother’s home office, sifting through records to keep, and taking a leaf bag of ones to shred. She found the previous two years’ boxes and took them out.

On her way back in, she saw the boxes holding photo albums, and took one labeled Dating and Wedding. It went with the two already out. The unit was neatly organized by Fin, his dad, and some of Liam’s friends who’d come to help her move out of the house. They’d spent the weekend taking boxes and furniture to the storage unit, and donations to CAM.

With the wedding and dating boxes had been the boxes holding baby things of the three children. That had to stay. Maybe she could go through the dating and wedding album and mementos, but the children’s things were still too painful to handle. People who’ve never lost a child think it’s maudlin or weird to keep mourning. This thing, this horrible thing, that had happened to her family changed her entire perspective on mourning. Not an hour went by that Amelia didn’t think of her children, miss kissing their cheeks goodnight. Liam, well she still couldn’t get there yet.

From a life of tight hugs, messy kisses, drawings on the refrigerator, Cheerios juice box debris, melted crayons in cars, abandoned toys in bathtubs, hurried rides to games and recitals, there was an aching that time would not heal.

She sat in the very back of the storage unit on the hard cement floor and held her head. These boxes and the urns on her mantel were what she had left of a blessed life, and now it seemed as if God himself had turn deaf.

“God please help me,” she whispered, and felt a massive, painful lump in her throat as she silently cried. “This pain is destroying me, God. Please, please, help me.”

Far down the storage building she heard a door shut and footsteps. She paused and listened, waiting, hoping no one would find her there in such a state. The storage unit across from her was unlocked and the door roared open. Someone started pulling boxes out of it, then locked up and left. She was left alone again with just the sound of air conditioning pushing through duct work and her breathing.

God was still being silent, and her heart broke again into a million shards.

The timer on the room dinged, and the lights went out.


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