In May, I got connected with a Lionel model train appraiser, for my husband's extensive collection and ephemera. After a few phone calls and emails, he drove to our home on a day both sons were home. First, we talked and I somewhat trusted him...

Downstairs, to the newer basement, he followed, explaining the markings, colors, condition, approximate worth. Upstairs, I showed him the original boxes plus lists of my husband's meticulous notes, of wishes and acquisitions, with dates and prices at time of purchase.

Somewhere in between, leaning against the washing machine, he noticed a framed American flag collage that I had done for my father, after 9/11, while he was dying. The Flag was rescued after a winter freeze burst pipes in my mother's empty house, she having been swept away to some fancy fucked up assisted living facility by other family members.

The guy commented on the collage, asked if I knew the artist. I shyly said, "me", and he commissioned one on the spot. Took me two months to get my head back into tactile artwork, working on his Flag a few hours at a time until my fingers were caked in acrylic, tired from keeping to a loosely representational scheme of the correct number of red and white stripes.

Last Friday, after the funeral, he arrived to pick it up, pay for it, then took me out for dinner. I ordered a Train Wreck and two glasses of Merlot. I felt shaken from the day, but satisfied, free, and the rain glistened everything.

Brevity Quest 2016 258

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