I imagined it would be like preparing a body for burial, one last loving touch to each wall, each floor before saying goodbye. I was grateful my daughter, seven, came with me. This house holds her earliest memories, the ones that hover, wordless, in the recesses of her mind.
She cleaned windows, reaching higher than I'd known she could, and begged endlessly to mop. She climbed onto the counter and drank water right out of the faucet, because we didn't have any cups.
In the end, we opened the back door one last time and filled a small box with the ripest things we could find in the garden, mostly tomatoes. I took my familiar position, sitting on the concrete steps and watched as she walked this last time through her very own Eden, that small patch of grass and weeds and boxed in vegetables that she helped to plant and pull every year.
I told her it was time to go and she lingered, looking, leaning, "Let me get just one more," she said, longing to take something more with her than that box of luscious fruit, already full to bursting.
* * *
That night I made spaghetti sauce, fresh and light, every ingredient pulled from the dirt of our own lives. Dirty garlic bulbs and tiny red onions, hardly worth the time to peel, green pepper and, of course, the tomatoes.
It was a small harvest, but it was enough; it was the best sauce I ever made.
(This post is for Five Minute Friday on the prompt, "Last." Click over to read more five minute posts!)