Car loaded with Penelope’s clothing and bedding to drop off at their respective destinations, David drives away. Louise had wanted a moment alone in the house, and he reluctantly obliged.
He sees his father’s house – Marilyn’s house; he drives by the old green house where Leo lives in the basement, and Allison works away on its restoration. He turns down the street where Kassandra works at the coffee shop, and glances up at Franny’s apartment window.
All these places are haunted for him, with visions of the anger he brought with him to this town. No one here had been real to him then. All he wanted was to break through his father’s comfortable denial, and to break apart any happiness around him.
Now, the realness of the people and places nearly breaks his heart in two. This is why people turn off their emotions, he knows, because to love is to be wounded, over and over again.
David parks at the clothing bank, pulls out his phone, dials to let them know he is outside. He is asked to place the boxes by the door, which he does. It’s always so much quicker, this part of the process, then one can imagine when one faces the open closets and drawers of someone who has departed. He has the boxes stacked in less than five minutes, and returns to his car as a masked volunteer comes out to collect them.
The volunteer offers a cheery wave. David responds with one of his own.
Surreal, this masked and distanced life, and yet we still wave at one another as if all is the same.
He starts the car, ready to head to the next stop, checks the mirrors, and catches his breath. Something about the volunteer, the way she moved, that wave, momentarily paralyzes him.
Sasha? Was it her behind that mask?