He’s Gone

Three hours since Simon left. I haven’t cried again. Just put his toothbrush away. I thought about tossing it, but I didn’t. I saved it. Put on one of those clip-on toothbrush caps from my stocking last Christmas and threw it under the sink into the overflowing pile of hair dryer, stranded Qtips, and bottles of bath products my sister gives me for holidays that I never use (but can’t bring myself to throw away) because I don’t like the way they smell.

I’ll wash the sheets tomorrow just in case I might want to throw my nose into the pillow he slept on last night so I can have a whiff of any scent left behind, even if it is the vapor of his morning-breath drool. This is also why I haven’t changed out of my white tank. I wore it to help him move today and standing by the U-Haul, saying goodbye, I hugged him close, but only lightly gripping his drenched tee shirt so he wouldn’t think I was too sad.

When Steve Z broke up with me junior year in high school, I dragged my friend Tracy to the mall and bought Marlboros from the cigarette machine in Chi Chi’s basement, which I smoked while listening to Nothing Compares 2 U over and over and over. (I’d switch Sinead up with In Your Eyes if I really felt like crying.) My thirtysomething interpretation of this break up kit replaces nicotine with carbs and Sinead O’Conner with Simon and Garfunkel.

As soon as I got home, I ate the second half of the peach cobbler I made last night, and, two hours later, a whole box of mac and cheese that he left behind (it was organic, which is how I justified the binge). And I’ve listened to “April Come She Will” over and over and over again. It wasn’t our song—we didn’t have a song since our relationship never got to the point where that would have been permissible (though I’m not sure “having a song” should ever be permissible). But when we watched The Graduate one Thursday night in our underwear, lying on our stomachs on the bed, it came on and we both said we liked it. I put it on the mix CD I made for him, which I hid in his black vinyl Kangol messenger bag (with a card) so he wouldn’t find it until later.

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