After my father died, I went to his house for the first and only time. It was a network of trails through sprung organizations. Illness had pulverized his collections. Everything was covered in dust.
When I knew him, he collected and cataloged. He kept their organizations in his memory. He knew where everything was. Later, he filled notebooks with networks of colors and numbers and lists. Then time and age turned his maps into fragments.
I thought that his books would lead me to the boxes that contained the remaining fragments of my childhood. I wanted to find them.
When I arrived, my siblings lined up along the porch and stared at me. There seemed more of them than I remembered.
I thought someone would know the system. But they were just overwhelmed.
The notebooks had disappeared.
By myself, I wandered through room after room past shelves of cardboard boxes. Each was marked with a color and number, each a wayward postcard not addressed to me. Arbitrarily, I opened a box. It was full of taxidermy animals and moths. Another contained bottles of evaporated perfume; a third dozens of identical wooden rectangles.
I gave up.
When I was leaving I asked if there would be an auction. One of my siblings said there would be. I said: If you find my childhood, call me. She said she would. She never called.