Unpacking His Timber

I grunted at the effort of picking up and moving one of my father’s many cardboard boxes. It was much heavier than I’d expected, just glancing at it, and my back twinged in complaint.

         He’d left a hell of a mess when he’d kicked the bucket, my father. His house was neat and orderly, presumably my mother’s influence on him. She’d always run a tight ship in her home, as the mental scars of my childhood could attest to.

         His shed, however, was a totally different story.

         The detritus of a million different woodworking projects littered the floor and bench spaces – even the ceiling had turned into a makeshift storage service, with boxes stuffed into the rafters and wire-supported sculptures dangling at exactly the height of my forehead. His entire back wall had been relegated to a tool and parts storage system that would have given the local Hampton hardware store a run for its money.

         The task had fallen to me – the only child – to sort out the mess and figure out what needed to be dismantled, sold or sent to the tip. I wish I could keep the house, but I already had my own mortgage to deal with, and I worked on the opposite side of town.

         I banged my knee on a pile of wood and swore at the sudden, sharp pain. I’m sure it had made perfect sense to my dad, to leave them sticking out into the walkway, exactly where people were going to be rushing and hurting themselves. I could almost hear him chuckling to himself.

         He did have an eye for quality timber supplies near Cheltenham, I had to give him that – the wood was superb. I brushed a hand against the plank on the top, lifting the smell of pine and sawdust into the air.

         Tears sprang into my eyes, surprising me, and I quickly wiped them away.

         No time for that, I chided myself. I have a job to do.

         I turned around –  immediately banging my forehead into a dangling birdhouse.

         (There was that chuckling again.)