Every day we go to Marc’s apartment and sift through the remains of his life, an odd assortment of the quirky, the beautiful and the banal. It is difficult but oddly helpful to have this physical task, one last thing we can do for him.
Most of this I am prepared for. There is the closet cramed to the ceiling with empty boxes, everything he ever bought can be traced here, even though much ot has long gone. Gary is working his way through this, methodically cutting every box up into manageable pieces for recycling. This is mostly what he does for two hours. There is the linen cupboard with two shelves full of luxurious towels, the kind you find in 5 star spas: large serving dishes and a splendid wooden salad bowl fit for a party, though he never entertained; Calvin Klein sheets; an electric fireplace wirh a lovely mantel. Everything is covered with dust.
But it’s the little things that catch in my throat and brings on the tears. I find plastic Halloween pumpkins with lights to make them glow in the dark. He would never open his door to strangers, so it was just for himself. There is an autumn wreath of maple leaves and red berries, Christmas ornaments and candles. Some Christmas gift bags saved from long ago that I recognize.
This is the photo that hangs in our living room of Marc when he was in his twenties. Someone had suggested he could be a model, since he wore his clothes so well. Of course this would be imposdible, but he loved the idea and I tried not to be too negative. When I said he would need some headshots, he agreed to pose in his apartment for a friend of Adrienne who was into photography. It was a difficult session, I gathered later. Marc was very jumpy and nervous since he did not know the guy, and they had to cut things off early. Of course nothing came of this idea, but I love the photo in spite of all its flaws. It is very revealing. I see the sadness and vulnerability. And I see the small scar above his chin from a childhood spill, witness to a happier time of carefree fun.
The removal van is coming on Wednesday and then the cleaners move in, erasing all signs of his life in that apartment. And he is really gone.