It has been three days since her funeral.
My Mother sent me to her house to clean out her attic; it is to hard for her to come do it, so somehow she expects it won't be for me.
Dust swirls around my feet as I walk across the unfinished floor. I duck underneath a cross beam and work my way over to the last section remaining that I need to empty. I haven't been here in twenty years, not since I was five years old and my Gram and I last cleaned out the attic.
I remember it was 90 degrees that day. I was sitting by the little window, sucking on a popsicle, twirling my beaded necklace in my hand. Her hair was tied up in a tight bun, it was just barely starting to get gray. She reminded me of my Kindergarten teacher; she wore big colorful dresses and oversized hoop earings. When we had finished cleaning, well really it was just her, I saw her hand slip out of her pocket; there was a small box clutched in her grip. She saw me looking and shifted her body so I couldn't see where she had put it.
Now, I'm standing in that exact spot she stood twenty years earlier. I push an old fan and some storage boxes out my way, searching for the little green square she held that day.
I have cleared out the entire corner, and am just about to give it up when I notice a loose floorboard against the wall. I kneel down and pry it open. Once I get it off, my hands are caked with layers of dust and mold, but I see what I was looking for, nestled in a pile of leaves and twigs that have blown through the window over the years and ahve somehow worked their way under the board.
My hands shaking, I pull out the box. On the top, scrawled in her recognizable hand writing is my name. I suck in my breath and gently lift off the lid, afraid the box will crumble to dust in my hands. Inside, lying on a bed of blue and gold feathers is a pearl necklace and a note.
For my little girl. May your neck never be bare, may your heart always be whole.
A tear falls from the corner of my eye, blotting the ink, erasing the memory.
I put on the necklace, the pearls cool against my skin, her breath warm on my heart. I keep the jewelry, but I put the box back under the board, a moment only her and I will ever share. I sit next the little window and look out at the field beyond, twirling the pearls in my hand, clutching the note to my heart.