Sunday, November 15, 2015

Jack's Legacy

About 2010, Jack decided to produce a will. He found a form on the Internet and went to it, his yellow #2 pencil inscribing the paper.

Jack peered at me. "What do you want me to leave you?"

At the price of his death? "Nothing!"

But the next day, I remembered how my furnishings became a jumble when Jack arrived. We put some of his stuff in my rooms, some of mine in his, and both in ours. What if he died and his kids showed up to abscond with "his" furniture. What if they took mine?

"Leave me the furnishings," I said, and he did.

During the next five years, Jack revamped his will several times, on the last occasion with a lawyer. Each time he reassured me that his furnishings would be mine. I felt content.

September 2015. Jack had been dead a few days. His son Mark and I stood in Jack's Crown Pointe studio. I felt immobile. Mark gestured around the room. "It's all yours, Marilyn." Mark--the executor of Jack's will--should know.

Then I remembered. The furniture. He willed me all his furnishings, his hospital bed, his drooping plants, his dirty socks in a cluster on the floor, his hundreds of books, his food rotting in the refrigerator. I laughed.

Late in October, Mark and I stood in my dining room, discussing Jack's hoard of cash.

"How long should I wait before I distribute it," Mark asked.

I had no idea. "I suppose you should sit tight at least a couple of months. Sometimes billing takes that long. Or maybe ask a banker."

He nodded. "Or a lawyer." He looked askance at me. "You do know that he left you everything."

"Everything?" I trembled, not so much at the size of Jack's nest egg as at his choice to entrust it to me. An unexpected expression of his love.

Mark grabbed my elbow.

"I'm okay, Mark. I'm delicate, but I'm also sturdy."

I waited until he left before I commenced to cavort and keen.

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