Darcy grew up in the apartments of her mother’s boyfriends. Whenever a breakup was imminent, Mother would take Darcy and her brother out to Sunday afternoon open houses. They would walk through empty houses, and Mother would ask them which rooms they wanted, describe the furniture she would buy for the spacious rooms: a cozy table for the breakfast nook; beds with colorful blankets; a pillow-filled couch for watching Disney movies on a flat screen TV. The next month would find Darcy and her brother huddled in the unfurnished corner of their latest “uncle’s” spare room.
Darcy grew up. She worked hard, bought a small cottage, and took great care in housekeeping. Years passed before she invited Mother to holidays. Delighted but bedraggled by yet another failed “relationship,” Mother arrived early and offered to help. None was needed – everything had been ready for days, including the eighteen individually and gorgeously wrapped empty boxes – each one inside of another – that Darcy presented to Mother that evening.