There are crazy things your mind does to you after a breakup. You associate every single item and smell and taste and feel that you saw, held, smelled, tasted, experienced together as a reminder. A killing, crushing reminder of him. I walk through my house alone now. Memories flow from every painting, candle and bottle of perfume. It all feels ruined. I itemize:
He brought me this art, a picture of tribal lovers.
We bought this couch together, on St. Patrick’s — a rare daytime date.
He was with me when I brought the dog home. She loved him.
This freezer made the ice cubes for our martinis.
We sprinkled this volcanic black salt on fresh avocados in the summertime.
We ate cheese and tomatoes and pork chops at this table. We laughed.
We cooked out of this cookbook. Barefoot Contessa.
This kettle made his tea in the morning. Here, is the tea he drank.
He always liked this nail polish on me. It’s called Heartbreaker.
I made space in this drawer for him. I packed up all his clothes, but I kept the rubber ducky boxers. I wish I hadn’t. But I did.
Here are the socks of mine he wore when his feet got cold.
One time he put on these shoes, my dad’s, when we went to the gym.
He bought this TV.
He chose the cover for this iPad because he knows I like blue.
We played dirty Scrabble on this board.
I took a photo of us in this mirror, dancing.
We listened to old vinyls on this record player.
Here, on the wall, is a photo of him surfing as a boy.
I got these Converse kicks because he wears them, too.
He borrowed these sunglasses.
He loved these boots.
He loved the scent of this room.
Last Christmas he bought me this lingerie.
He slept on this side of the bed.
I wore this dress on New Year’s.
I donned this hat last winter on a crazy date in the middle of New Jersey.
He gave me this Rolex, his prized possession and a symbol of his initial success in business.
The more loops I take around the house, the more things I lovingly add (or Stevie-Nicks-style SHOVE) into the bag for him. The volatility depends on the moment. And the song on the radio.
You can go your own way.
But then I try to remember:
These are the Kleenex I buy every time he breaks my heart.
Here are the anti-depressants.
Here lays my sad dog, confused when I cry.
The wine store is on speed dial.
I watched this movie the last time he left, and now it’s ruined.
Here’s the list of support groups, taped to the fridge.
That’s me in that same mirror, sad and depleted.
This is the broken glass.
And so, I tell myself:
I earned that TV. And the iPad.
This couch is mine. This freezer is mine. This dog is mine. This hat is mine. This pot is mine. This kettle is mine. This life is mine.
So as long as I keep perspective, I’ll be fine. Right? Maybe calling it all out will help me to be ok; to accept being in my own home again without feeling it’s my worst enemy?
I keep telling myself, I keep telling myself, I keep telling myself.