I’ve lived in apartments almost my entire life. This has come with certain things that have become standard. One, you learn to ignore the smells of cooking that don’t really mix well with each other and two, you get to hear couples end in spectacular fashions. Screaming, yelling, throwing things, name calling, histories being pulled out of the void of memory. I didn’t have that. It all ended in a whisper; “Pack up my things”.
So, I set out to do just that.
I went through the apartment, the one I hate, but learned to love. I went through the cardboard boxes that served as shelves, the closets that had become jungles of our things growing over each other. I pulled everything that I could find out and threw it in a pile. I compartmentalized everything that represented her presence in my life. That’s when I realized there was something fundamentally wrong with the way my mind worked.
She’s more than a pile of clothes and rummage sale trinkets.
She’s the energy and spirit that makes homes appear out of thin air.
It dawned on me after staring at the pile for, most likely, too long that the task was only partially done. I still had to box it all up. I had to sift through the minutes and days that wrapped around each one of those items. Each shirt that wrapped around her, each piece of makeup that she’d use perfectly. The little things that we accumulated after discovering hobbies that we could share together, had to be removed from their sacred spots. I had to watch as everything I was losing was placed in goddamned box and I couldn’t stop the practice since I was the one doing it.
What’s mine, what’s hers and all those other greedy questions that have to be answered pounded at my mind as the work continued. I couldn’t help myself from theorizing about what she would be taking with her. Would she go through the boxes and see everything like I had? Did I even want her to have to go through with that? Could I spare her? Does the concept of propriety trump sacrifice?
It’ll all be gone in a day or so. It’ll be in a new place, with the same woman. Someday it might even reside in a new man’s house. I selfishly pray she doesn’t tell him all the stories that live in those things. But at the same time, I can’t make the same promise, and now I realize why everything has to go.
I hope it all finds a good place. Because surely if all this stuff can be safe somewhere, so can she. I know she can.