Middletown, Ohio

It’s my first night since last winter in my mother’s four-thousand-square-foot log cabin in the woods of Ohio, and I’m wide-awake. I can’t stop thinking about her surprise inheritance and how twenty-five years ago she shuffled my twin sister and me from shelter to shelter and street to street when we were homeless in New York City. I remember that our backpacks were stuffed with dolls and a few sweaters. We had no other possessions. Now, after inheriting money from some mysterious person whose name she refuses to divulge, my mother’s home is filled like a warehouse: six George Foreman grills, five unopened boxes of message phones, a waffle maker, four Cuisinarts, a few dozen pairs of clogs, piles of cashmere sweaters with price tags, and though I haven’t heard her make music since I was six years old, an upright harp, a medieval lute, a Middle Eastern lyre, three Celtic dulcimers, a Gibson guitar, and a grand piano.

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