My mother’s house was completely empty, ready for another family to move in and start a new life.
As the only child, I had to make sure nothing was left behind. Opening every door and cabinet was tedious, and my thoughts were elsewhere.
My mother had just died after all.
I saved her bedroom for last. It still seemed like I was invading her personal space and I did enough of that as a kid. I flipped on the closet light, peeked in, and started to leave when something on the top shelf caught my eye. I wondered why I hadn’t noticed it before.
I stood on my tiptoes, reached, and pulled back a nondescript box. Whatever was inside rattled. I sat down and lifted the lid without hesitation. Inside were a bunch of old photographs of my mother and a newborn baby.
The baby in the photos wasn’t me.