Eli Mellen

Bar Harbor, ME

I accidentally amassed a small collection of red handkerchiefs. My mother was diagnosed with cancer when I was young; I was so young that I never knew my mother apart from her diagnosis — she and it were, to me, one and the same. She died when I was in the 2nd grade. After she died, my father and I moved, and, I think partially out of emotional utility, but also because we were downsizing, he got rid of just about all of her stuff. In high school I came across a bike bag that had been my mothers. In it I found a red handkerchief. Angsty and feeling that some sort of sentimental hoarding was missing from my life, I kept the handkerchief, which, at some point, ended up in a drawer with some other ones. I can no longer tell them apart. So I keep them all.

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