Some spark of remembrance brought his father’s lessons suddenly alive there in the storeroom, from the many asides imparted as they collaborated in earnest on their sawdust projects. There was something ancestral about it: his father, waxing philosophical about lumber’s endless qualities, delighting in sculpting the former living pillars of the earth into a second life as if stoic, symmetrical forms imbued by the carpenter unlocked the gateway to something approaching the eternal. In the uneven light of the workshop, the man was an artist, he was a transcendent, he was Michelangelo. Yet it was me, he reflected with a rising knot in his throat, he once called his finest piece. How he must have labored to sand down my edges and strengthen my foundations. Once again he thought about his repeated axiom, that no project was ever finished, only abandoned. His thoughts hovered over the patina of worn memories as he rested an open hand on the rectangular frame before him. Its rigid angles gleamed, shy about its undercurrents of grain. Dad would approve, he ultimately decided, heavy calluses caressing the glossy surface of the mahogany casket. He would approve.
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