I've been spending a lot of time in my basement lately. Why? Because it's zero degrees outside, my basement is dry and spacious, and Marcus bought a bicycle trainer before he died and I figured I could put it to use. A trainer is a bike stand in which you hook up your rear tire to a resistance unit, a rolling cylinder that allows you to pedal, shift gears, and pretend you're riding up mountains or across Iowa prairies, all while staying in one place. Like the comfort of the heated basement in the American Gothic House.
I opened the lid of one of the bins and pulled out a brown cashmere coat. Marcus bought it during one of our trips to New York and had worn it so often the image of him in it was indelible. I couldn’t give this to a stranger! But I could give it to my brother in Seattle. It's cold there, he could use it. I took out a pair of hand-knit socks and a pair of suede gloves to send along with it.
I also took out a bicycle jacket, a silver sleek, windproof, fleece-lined thing that Marcus bought two months before he died at the Assos factory store in Switzerland. Factory store or not, he must have paid the equivalent of at least 300 bucks for it. (I must say, he had exquisite but expensive taste.) He had bought me one too, for my birthday in June. Mine was pink, and I found it in his luggage after he died. (I won’t even go into how heart wrenching that moment was.)