In Memoriam, Joanne Harris
First I open, and read, and sort the letters containing valuables. Cheques and cash we return, if we can. Sometimes you can find an address if you open the envelope. Things of intermediate value – clothes, trinkets, toys, books – we keep for six months, then dispose of. Watches, jewellery, artwork, we tend to try to keep longer. Perishable items we get rid of at once. Birthday cakes; live bait; garden plants; groceries; and once a box of soft, pale moths, drowsy in their wrapping of banana leaves and rice paper, which, slipping through my fingers like dusty old transparencies, came back to life in the clear, cold air, and flew up into the overhead lights, where they remained until they died, dropping one by one to the floor in clusters of brownish blossom.