A woman took her trash outside one morning. All of it. She brought box upon box of toys, scarves, pants that didn't fit, pants that did, lamps, dressers, bikes, machines, curtains, and dishes. Everything that she did not need. She brought out box after box, and when she ran out of boxes, she began to scatter things about her lawn. She laid out her far-too-vast collection of photographs, her dresses, her chairs, her tea sets, her china, her belts, purses, make-up, mirrors. Her neighbors thought she was mad. Especially because she was smiling. And crying. But none of them dared to ask at this point. They knew something was wrong, thus they didn't need to ask. Surely she had something better to do with her things than lay them out tidily on the lawn.
Nope. Out came the vacuum, the microwave. Anything she could carry. Her laundry, her wallets, her shelves, her books. Her dolls. Her trash.
She gave a laugh. A sound of joy. It made no sense.
The best surprise came when she brought out a large piece of poster board and a marker. She wrote something on it, taped the sign to the street lamp in her yard, and shuffled back inside.
The sign read “Free.”
Everyone was baffled. Completely flabbergasted. Was this an odd idea for Christmas? Or perhaps were all of these things gifts from other years that she never had liked, anyway? Who on earth would even think of this? Let alone, actually do it.
One by one, strangers drove by, stopped, picked up a box. Or a couch. Or a basket, or a birdhouse. Whatever they needed...or wanted. Who knew? Some neighbors even tentatively darted out to snatch something from the piles, glancing at the sign up close to see if they had read it correctly. Free. Everything. Maybe it was her Christmas thing. But she had to be insane. Would she want it back? Well, that was too bad. It was theirs now, she had said it with that crazy sign. Though many had their doubts, kept glancing at the window to she if she was watching her trash get swept away, if she would run out at any moment, chasing them down.
free. What a silly, insane, idea.
How little did they know. The woman, still crying, was dancing on bare floors. She was singing a song with no words. She had laid the words next to her books on the lawn, for someone else to snatch away and carry. She couldn't hear the cars, or the people, she couldn't feel them watching the windows. She was long beyond things like windows, things like things.
Oh, if only her friends could have read the other side of that sign. No one walked that far, but maybe one day they would see the part she had written inside, to herself.
Finally, I am
Little did they know that all of her belongings were on that lawn. Little did they know she no longer belonged to any one of them. Little did they know, as they gathered the last of her collected, meaningless things, how grateful and how beautiful her soul was that cold, lovely December morning.