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By Victoria Mastropietro January 29, 2012


No matter how hard you try or how much you do, this is how you end up: as a room of stuff that nobody really wants.

Your entire life packed into boxes. Your memories, your everydays, your special occasions, your hopes and dreams all wrapped in paper and tucked away. All of it neatly stored as if a shop was expecting a shipment, as if you never were.

Your clothing folded and piled neatly in garbage bags, waiting to be donated. The countless hours you spent making them from scratch, making them perfect. Every stitch a mark of your determination because “factory stuff just isn’t the same.”

Your dishes and cutlery carefully gathered, waiting to be divided. The simple white set that made your days, used at breakfast, lunch and dinner, is nonchalantly given away to the daughter-in-law of your daughter. Nobody wants the white dish set, it’s nothing special. It’s the truth, reality, everyday wear, but nobody wants that either. Instead hands grope and search for your silver, your crystal and your gold rimmed bone china. Those are worth something. No sentimental value of course, but that’s not really value now is it? Both daughters and your son’s wife let their eyes wander obviously over the “important” pieces. “Oh my! Crystal champagne glasses!” exclaims your daughter, the older possessive one who’s a bit of a hoarder. The other two women turn to stare. Even your son allows himself a glance. “Well we’ll draw names, don’t worry”. That’s what your accomplishments have become, a simple lottery.

Your artwork that hung for years in your home. It didn’t matter if it was a print or a painting by a “real” artist. It was pretty. Now one is leaned against a wall, atop your dresser. Even its happy prairie scene seems dreary. “Who’s going to take the painting?” asked your other daughter, the pushover with repressed anger. “But, look at it! There isn’t even a signature! It’s worth nothing!” says your son, once sweet and youthful, now hardened with age and tough times. “Well, but…” Your other daughter just won’t fight. You didn’t teach them to argue, so they don’t. Then again, you didn’t teach them selfishness, either.

Your sewing machine, a real powerhouse, able to sew through leather like it’s nothing. Your daughter-in-law greedily sucks it in, now hers for the keeping. When your son told his sisters--yes told--that his wife would be taking the machine, your daughters shrugged. They both had machines, and they had gotten your overlock  machines, it was only fair. But this, this is not just nuts and bolts. No, this was your livelihood, your job. It was the hours you spent giving your children pretty clothes and food at each meal. Once it absorbed material, stitching and sewing until beautiful taffeta ball gowns came out for the richer girls to wear to town. Now all it will do is hem pants and fix holes. Nothing like it was meant for.

Your diamond ring, fought over horribly. “It’s a half a carat!” your first daughter exclaims, no doubt in anyone’s mind that she wants it for her collection. Your other daughter just stares, wanting to yell “Just take it! Take it like you took everything else!” but her mouth stays shut. This is what has come of your ring. Once a symbol of your marriage, your love for your husband and children is now nothing but an excuse for a petty fight.

Your grandchildren who openly cursed you when you got sick, even though few will admit that you were sick. The ones who yelled at you with frustration. The others who laughed in your face all because you kept forgetting, but it wasn’t your fault, you just couldn’t remember. All of them cried helplessly at your casket, no matter how they acted when it counted.

You, once a vibrant woman now reduced to a room. A room that cannot explain you, or your talent, or your life. In time it is what we will all become: a room of stuff that nobody really wants, worthless.

About the author

Victoria Mastropietro is a first year Dawson student in the literature profile. She likes poems and stories that are open to multiple interpretations.


Photo by olavXO on Flickr


  1. space-default-avatar


    November 27, 2013

    Ouch! The sad reality of what our lives truly become when we pass away. Even more, the sad reality of how people change in the interest of inheritance. It’s funny because all of these things have no value, it will not fill that void with happiness nor will it make you feel more complete. Someone once told me it’s the things that are intangible that have more value than the things that are. They’re the moments of laughter, sadness and joy we shared with someone, that is truly worth something. We seem to have lost that sense of value and put value on things that have none.  I’m not sure what it is about people when money is involved that changes them, the hunger that consumes them. All the value that were taught, demolished, useless, and for what? The exact same thing the woman who died was left with… NOTHING.

    Ironic. Men made money and now money makes men.

    To the author: Great passage that depicts the horrible scenes unseen that happen behind someone’s death, that is unfortunately true. Very touched by this and love your writing style in the way you are able to catch the reader. Thank you for sharing that.

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