All This

The truth of the basement becomes apparent to you in moments fleeting as waves that break and recede. After your father’s stroke, when you and your uncle install an extra banister for balance, you realize that the computer wires that litter the stairs like brambles are actually the bigger health issue. Afterwards you can remember your uncle going to the liquor cabinet and pouring you each a shot of vodka that dissolved into another half-decade—so that you are no longer a college sophomore, you no longer visit as often, and your therapist tells you on occasion that separating from your parents is a natural part of becoming an adult. Well, sure, you say, but so much stuff might be a real problem as they get older. It’s not Hoarders reality TV yet, but it’s not far off.