The pipes under the kitchen sink finally splintered into a thousand pieces.
In the excavation, a bottle emerged. It had either been there when I arrived 37 years ago or had come to stay shortly after.
Obviously, over the ensuing years, it had been inconceivable to throw it out because you never knew when you might needed to emergency polish something. Instead of running out to some drug store in the middle of the night, this kinda-almost full bottle was always there to fall back on.
But looking at the old bottle, I had to accept that no matter how reluctant I felt throwing out something that still had something in it, the fact was that any liquid other than booze that was still good after almost four decades under an old sink could not be good for anything that breathed or showed other signs of living. It, along with some other toxic cleaners which had been hidden from view would be given to a recycling event and hopefully released safely to their final resting place without harming animals, wildlife, vegetation or humans.
Bought in 1961, it was a fold-out sleeper in subtle turquoise and blues displaying extraordinary taste and success. When things ended for all of us, it moved to my father's divorcé apartment down the street from his former marital home.
He sat on that couch for quite some time before heading to greener pastures in California. Charged with emptying out his New York apartment, it was clear to me that couch had no life left in it. But that did not stop him from arguing that it was a "good couch" and somehow I should take it in and sit on it as he had. In his world, nothing got thrown out. Nothing got unused. Nothing went wasted.
I appreciate my reluctance to discard something even when it was quite past its usefulness or purpose. It is a trait inherited from two people who had grown up cherishing the privilege of having enough money to buy something.
MY PRIVATE CONEY presents IT WAS HER NEW YORK, the short stories that accompany the work-in-progress video and photo collection of the same name (myprivateconey.com - media link - IT WAS HER NEW YORK). The stories and the media explore the tender rubble that holds both my mother, Florence's and New York's soul as one disappears into old age and the other into gentrification. All are real observations and/or experiences with very little tall-tale telling.
Except when it makes the story better.
Please visit myprivateconey.com for additional information and sample works.