Womack Report

June 9, 2009

I wish James was home.

Filed under: General — Phillip Womack @ 9:29 pm

Mom and Dad are out of town this week.  I was supposed to be in my house by now, but that got delayed.  Seller screwed up some paperwork, so I won’t be able to close until the end of the month.

Mom and Dad want to be able to put their house on the market right after they get home, so they asked me to move James’s stuff to a storage unit.  A lot of that stuff was going to go to my house, but we’ve had to switch plans.

I’ve spent a couple hours now moving James’s stuff downstairs and staging it to put it in his truck and take it to the storage place.  And it’s just been an incredibly painful process.  I didn’t expect this. 

I’m not usually a sentimental person.  Lord knows, I don’t give a rip about any of my own stuff.  I’ve always thought it was ridiculous how much junk James has piled up here.  But when I try to touch it, to look at it, to pick it up and move it, it’s like touching his life.  Here’s a bunch of West Point stuff; he spent four years there, with us only seeing him on holidays.  His West Point ring, Class of ’08, is sitting on a box of playing cards.  What can I do with that?  That thing is important.  It should be on his finger, and that finger should be here, where we can see him.

And the ring isn’t the worst of it.  There’s a cardboard box full of magazines and newspapers.  Obvious trash.  Except the first magazine cover is showing Saddam Hussein when he was captured.  And the next one is about soldiers.  And one of the newspapers looks like it’s written in Arabic, and they’re all about Iraq.  Where he served, when he got called up from where we were living together and going to SFA.  They’re all about him, and how can I take that box out of the house and put it in a storage container?

There’s a shaving bag, with his initials.  I have one like it with my initials.  That should be safe.  Razors and toothbrushes.  Except it jingles when I pick it up, so I peek inside.  It has his insignia.  Dozens of little pins from units he’s served in.  Buttons.  Crests.  some patches.  Two little pins that look like a pair of playing cards, ace and jack of spades.  Those mean something.  They’re pieces of his life, his past.

His camera, from high school.  His weirdly eclectic DVD binder.  His collection of beer bottle caps.  All his army books.  Lots of Bibles.  Bibles of various shapes and sizes, different translations.  I mean, I have a bunch of Bibles, too, that family have given as gifts.  But James’s are different.  Literally different, as in didn’t come from the same source.  He bought these himself, or was given them by people outside the family.  Four or five of them.  Eight or nine pairs of shoes.  All his clothes.  A compass that’s gritty with sand; easy guess where that came from.  His diploma.  A long box that I’m pretty sure is a display case for his sword.

It hurts.  I didn’t expect it to hurt, and there’s no good reason for it.  He’s not in trouble.  He’ll be home in less than three weeks.  This should be the easy part.  Heck, I exchanged some emails with him just this week.  It’s not like I’m worried about his safety.  I just want him to be around.  I want to see him.  I want to talk to him.  What I don’t want to do is go and pick up a roomfull of his life and take it to some sterile garage in a U-Haul building.

I’m sitting here weeping, and I absolutely dread going back and working at it again.  It’s ridiculous.  I’m going to keep moving stuff.  I said I would, and I do what I say I will do.  Besides which, if it affects me like this, I can only imagine how painful it would be for Mom and Dad to have to move it.  But I’d rather do just about anything than go back in there right now.

I want my brother to be home.  I want to have my house, so that I can set up a room for him, and put his stuff in there, and give him a key to the door, and then say to him, “Look!  Here is a place for you!  Stay here!  Make this your home!  Come and go when you want, do what you need to do, but always return to us.  You’re my brother, and you’ll always have a home with me.  Things are better when you’re near, I’m better when you’re near.”

I want James home.

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