My grandparents’ great white house stood in front of me. None of my family were here, though, and I could hear the faint water dripping from where I stood but fifty yards outside.
The gravel crunched under my feet, and I almost stumbled as I ran in the basement door. My task was to save what I could.
Water was soaked through everything. The very walls seeped to the touch. Mattresses were piled up, soaking in knee-deep water where I remembered an electronic keyboard had once been. The wallpaper along the far wall that had depicted a lake as seen through the trees was now moldy and faded.
Was a pipe burst? The water seemed to come from the very walls, drowning everything out. The sloshing of my walking through the water made it hard to think. I forgot what I was there to save.
I sloshed in deeper, into the back rooms. The back rooms? I don’t think I remember these rooms from when I was a kid. What was kept here? What was I looking for?
As I came around a corner into a large room, I found a large wooden working desk. Despite how old it looked, I could smell varnish and freshly cut wood. I ran my fingers along it and marvelled at its craftsmanship.
Around the front, I saw the desk had many tiers to it so that whoever sat at it could see and do many things at once. There were books and devices arranged there now. What were these? I grabbed from the closest tier to me and seemed to find an old accountant’s printing calculator with buttons that had long since weathered yellowed.
I put the calculator under my armpit and grabbed what appeared to be another. Instead of just numbers on the buttons, this one seemed to have symbols to help denote time. I stuffed it along with the first under my arm. I grabbed another. This one’s buttons were all words-- were they conjunctions, like we learned in elementary school?
As if taken by habit-- maybe I knew now these devices what I was here for-- I began looking them over, trying to find the right ones to collect under my arm. Within what seemed like a second, I had too many to carry. I pulled out one of the drawers of the desk, hoping to find a bag to put all of these devices in, but instead, I found replacement buttons of all sorts. They were labelled with letters, numbers, symbols, and words that were common and not. What was all this, I wondered?
The next drawer I pulled held exactly what I was looking for-- like someone often came here looking for something similar. The drawer was built to be almost flush with the top when pulled out, and six holes were cut out. Plastic shopping bags stuck out of the holes to be pulled like tissues. I pulled one out and began shoving the printing machines and spare buttons inside.
I rubbed my eyes and turned my alarm off.
A new email is from Mom.
Last night at 11:05 PM, dad called all confused about pills. He read aloud the note I left him, saying we would bring him his antibiotic 3 times a day. I said yes.
He said he hadn’t seen her yet today, and it was already 11.
I said I messaged her earlier and asked if she gave dad his pill, and she said yes.
He asked me why I was still sleeping. I said because it is 11 at night and I had just got to sleep.
He tried to argue that it was morning.
I asked him to look outside. He took a moment, and then I asked him to please go to bed. I added, just in case, that all his pills were done for Thursday, and he needed to start again in the morning. And to please not take any medications. He reluctantly said he would go to bed.