First, there was That Damn Buffet. We knew it belonged solely to me, but I spent nearly an hour staring at it in its spot, dreading the lift onto the moving truck. It was a family heirloom that I treasured, yet I felt like begging him to keep it. It had been passed around my family, pawned off on whoever happened to have the space to keep it. It would take most of a U-Haul trip on its own. I took it anyway.
Then, there was the TV. He got a giant flat-screen delivered weeks ago, so there was no reason I shouldn’t take it. I needed a TV. I didn’t want to buy one. But I felt bad. It was his—he’d had it for years. The damn thing was covered in dust, but I still couldn’t convince myself that I should take it. I did anyway.
There were the dishes and the cookware. Some were mine, some were his, some I’d bought for “us”, some he’d bought for “us”. I needed them all—rather, I wanted them all, would use them all, would never buy them for myself. It took careful thought to divvy them, to determine which house would keep which pot, which cookie sheet, which serving spoon. I mourned each piece I decided was his, but I split them anyway.
There was the bedroom. The bed and dresser were his. I’d bought the delicious down bedspread, the curtains, the table. What would I do with these things in an apartment that didn’t need them? I wanted to take them. I left them anyway.
There was the guest bedroom. I wanted to take an entire room with me! Everything belonged to me, of course, but I could barely believe that I was taking it all. I knew in my heart that the room would never find a proper purpose in my absence. I wasn’t going to leave it, anyway.
There was everything. When I felt quite certain that I’d packed up everything I could, I thought about the house itself and the relationship. I’d never felt like the house had been a thing that belonged to me. In some way, maybe the relationship had never quite been mine, either. I’d fallen in love as a girl and now I felt so far from that person that I couldn’t hold on. The house echoed with promises of marriage, of babies, of the life I was planning. I knew if I begged hard enough, I could call the whole thing off and stay; things would fall back into normalcy. But I’d already packed my love up a long time ago. I’d taken too much for too long and there was nothing I could do to make that right again. So I left anyway.