Louise and David gaze at the three piles they have created from Penelope’s things: keep, give away, sell.
The keep pile is the smallest. David is surprised at Louise’s ruthlessness, her lack of attachment to so many of the items in her sister’s home. The third, the pile to be sold, holds a few pieces of Penelope’s furniture, a large mirror, and a rather good collection of jazz LPs.
The largest is the give-away pile. Clothing will go to the local clothing bank, now that it is clean. Louise has had Penelope’s washer and dryer going all day, insisting that the recipients receive things in good shape. Bedding, also freshly washed, will be donated to the recovery house. CDs, DVDs, and books all go to the library, for circulation or sale.
David is most surprised at the art pieces Louise wants to give away. Many are superb, and worth hundreds or thousands of dollars. Louise has indicated family members and friends to receive most of them, based on her memory of who expressed liking for what.
“Are you sure you don’t want to sell a few? They will help offset the expenses,” David says.
Louise turns from organizing the pile of bedding. “What expenses? Pen had her savings, and my name was on it as the beneficiary. There’s plenty in there to cover anything that needs covering.”
“Well, maybe for your time. Maybe for dad’s care, or something?”
“We’re fine, David. I don’t – I can’t see Pen’s death as an occasion for making money.” Louise’s tone is hard.
“No, no, of course not. That’s not what I meant.” Is it? David wonders. Was that the old me speaking? “I just want to make sure you’re taken care of, Louise, that’s all. It’s up to you, of course.”
He sees her shoulders drop, and tears come to her eyes. “I know it’s up to me, David, and I can’t stand it. I don’t want it to be up to me. I want my big, beautiful, bossy sister here to tell me what to do, just like always.”
David, profoundly helpless, masked and distanced, watches her weep, offering murmurs of comfort that break his heart.