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"It Probably Always Will" • Ozark Mountain Daredevils (by Courtney Welu)

My grandmother’s house has been empty for weeks, still in the family’s possession but without any possessions inside of it. Blank space, walls stripped bare, shelves removed, drawers emptied. The old, crooked armchairs at the dump, the intricate hutches and worn red-brown couches given to an immigrant family a few towns away. The immigrant woman’s mother died the day her children came to load their trailer with the traces of my grandmother’s existence. 

She would be pleased; my grandmother spent the weeks leading up to her death desperately wanting the house in working order. A fence had to go up to block the view of the hoarder neighbor’s backyard of junk. My uncle’s bathroom with the mold and grime on the walls and the 50 year old toilet had to be redone. She always told my uncle that he’d better start giving his books away because he wasn’t going to be able to keep his basement library once she was gone, and the house went with her. In the end, the house went with him. 

My uncle’s books are mine now, half of his earthly possessions. My lot was the books and the movies and the big-screen TV and the Yoda plushie. His pipes and driftwood and carved runes belong to his sister. He stayed in his mother’s house, in his house, until his body gave out and his spirit went somewhere else. They both died in that house, mere rooms and years apart. 

My grandmother asked how long is this going to take? My uncle said he felt as though he stood at the bottom of a staircase and couldn’t get to the top. 

Memory is the only place they live now, memory and dreams. I dream of walking through the rooms of my grandmother’s house where there is still baseball on the TV and snow babies in the hutch and Roberto the carved wooden parrot hanging above the dining room table to watch us play cards. I dream of sitting on the basement floor with my uncle. I only remember he’s dead halfway through the dream, and he tells me he is always looking over my shoulder. 

Courtney Welu is a writer, archivist, and graduate student at the University of Texas at Austin, where she studies English and information studies. Her work can be seen in The Snarkologist, Latinx Spaces,, and the Minnesota Daily.


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