Mother made sure the rug was rolled and the first thing on the cart. The only thing we had to fret about. All but one of us could die, she’d say, but the last must carry the rug, and under no circumstances were they allowed to perish.
We crossed the country. From forests to plains to mountains. Often hungry, always cold. We sold our clothes and suitcases, burned our books and letters, and eventually the cart itself, to keep warm, but the rug remained rolled and untouched.
Years later, when Mother passed, we threw that damned thing in the grave.