The first step is the hardest. It’s been months since he passed. I’ve been building it up for months. It’s the only part of the house I haven’t changed. There was no need. I don’t need more room. Left it there and forgot about it. Tucked in at the back of the corridor. Never needed to go down that far. I could feel it though. Clawing at the back of my mind, that one day I would have to step inside, even when I had forgotten about the room, that feeling was there. Somewhere.
I never knew what to do with it. I still don’t. Do I throw his stuff away. Keep it? Would I want to keep anything? It was his office, not mine. I never went in there. I told him that if I wasn’t going to go in there for me, then I wasn’t going to clean it or collect his plates. I only ever saw the inside when I needed him for something. He told me enough about this work. I didn’t need to go and search for it.
It was a small room. A desk on top of which was a laptop, some papers and dvds stacked in one corner. A bookcase filled with books, with a small CD player on top of it. And a picture Vicky had drawn for him when she was in nursery, taped to the wall, above the desk. I had forgotten about that. I wasn’t even aloud to look, it was for Daddy. I had a quick flick through the stacks of papers. Mostly just lists of stuff to do, scribbled in pencil. A couple of printed out sheets. Early designs. He was working on a poster about drinking too much for the council. Broken glass in one corner, space for text, a dark reddish background. No where near finished. He never liked the council work, it was the other stuff that he really put effort into. Book and album covers. He took his time with them.
I shuffled them together and put them to one side. Sitting down I reached down towards the two draws underneath the desk. The top one contained his blue book. He took that to every meeting with him. He would write down the idea of what someone would want in it. He kept everything inside. I picked it up and opened it. A picture was glued to the first page. I haven’t seen that in years. The first photo of us together. He’d always told me it was lost a long time ago. I always hated how I looked in it. It was him though. Twenty years younger, but it was him. Sitting on the grass just outside our school. Taken on an old camera his dad gave him a few weeks before. My hand started shaking and a tear came to my eye. I wiped it away with my free hand and closed the book.