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The sifters came yesterday, a lovely group of Baptist volunteers from northern Texas. They prayed before getting started, which was nice, and diligently worked for a few hours, focusing on the areas where I thought they’d most likely find things. Sadly, they came up disappointingly short, being unable to find anything from my trunks or any remnants of the two antique rifles from ex-Pat’s family. I had no expectations for the search, only faint hope.

They found some very charred items from a silver tray that sat on one of the dressers, but no trace of the tray itself. They found the lid to a small porcelain dish that I think came from my grandmother. They found two china pomanders from my Mother that had been in K’s dresser drawers. One of the sifters shouted “Hold up your hands!” and threw one to me from about 20 feet away. Which I caught. Had I not caught it and had it broken, I’m pretty sure I’d have been pissed. I know one of the other volunteers (a lady) scolded him for taking the risk of the toss.

They also found the remnants of several pairs of handcuffs. Not something I felt compelled to explain. Though I did feel like they prayed extra hard for me once they finished sifting.

But their most precious find was a ring. A single stone with three smaller stones on each side. The stone looks blue to me in most lights, though MKL saw hints of pink and purple. The thing is…..I don’t know this ring. I had a costume ring when I was little that had a blue solitaire but no other stones. It burned up in the trunks. So this is not that ring. Had it been a diamond or even glass, it wouldn’t have survived the heat.

Curiously, it fits the third finger of my left hand perfectly. Like it was made for me. Ex-Pat only gave me one ring – my engagement/wedding ring, which I have. I have my great grandmother’s and grandmother’s engagement rings. I have my Mother’s wedding band. It is none of those. My Dad gave me an amethyst ring – it’s not that. It is truly a ring from the fire. Just as the Bungalow insisted that I put a ring on it before I moved out (which I did, and which the tenants have left hanging on its ceiling hook), I think my cozy first house has given me a ring to forever tie us together, to confirm our commitment even in its passing. So for now, I’m wearing it, above my current durable silicone wedding band, until I feel like I don’t need to anymore, which will happen.

I know that sounds a little crazy. I think I’m just a little crazier than usual these days.

I went to what was once my house today. When the National Guardsman tried to stop me, I just said “No.” And he said “Okay.”

I will write more later. I am sifting through my feelings as I am sifting through the ashes. A hot spot here, a smoldering branch there. Lost love covered in clean snow. A charred ring box containing a Tibetan orb, the gentle chime it makes still as clear as it was on the long ago Christmas that my Mother gave it to me.

And most shattering, the bones of my best boy, Roscoe, in the spot in front of the fireplace where his bed always lay. I feel more like he was taken by the smoke, which is a whisper of comfort. I do not think I could survive had we found them by the front or back door. No trace of my Dusty, but he was so small that I don’t know if we will be able to find anything.

I am raw. Shocked. Enraged. Despairing. Lost.

My Roscoe, the best boy.
October 2022
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