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15 Things You Find When You Clean Out Your Dad’s Apartment – Holly Smith

  1. A box of Lincoln Logs that he played with as a child and that you can remember the exact shape and feel of without seeing them.
  2. A bag and a half of Chocolate Orange Milanos that you never remember him eating.
  3. Two paintings that your dad told you would be worth something when he died and you will wonder if you like either of them enough to keep them.
  4. Lime green Post-it notes strewn about with the same phone numbers written down again and again and again.
  5. Color-coded folders filled with faded magazine and newspaper clippings of recipes he meant to try.
  6. A pink and white fleshlight stuffed at the back of a filing cabinet under an envelope full of magnets—you won’t know what to do with either.
  7. A toy gun and two very real bullets.
  8. A photo ID for his first job showing his younger and happier face that you now can’t remember him ever having.
  9. An old scrapbook that will make your mom tear up even though she hasn’t been with your father since you were three months old.
  10. A folder from that rehab he was thrown out of, highlighting the schedule showing a family day he never invited you to.
  11. Drawings you don’t remember making, crumpled in the way a little kid crumples something when they love it, shoved into a plastic tub with bank statements a decade old.
  12. At least three versions of his will showing how often he thought about life after his death.
  13. Love letters from a college sweetheart he never told you the name of.
  14. A half-written draft of a breakup letter written about your dad, unsigned.
  15. The last book your dad will ever give you, unwrapped and without a note.