On the stovetop, a half eaten blueberry pie from one of our nightly Meijer runs. Leftover fries and half a burger (probably spoiled now) in the fridge (you know, the ones from the Irish pub where you didn’t order a drop of alcohol, told me you haven’t felt anything since you stopped drinking, and I stared out the window, at the falling snowflakes, and wondered what that meant for me. Where does that leave me, another leftover in the fridge to be thrown away?). A navy blue bag, unopened, of coffee beans, proof that we actually did travel to Costa Rica; it wasn’t all a rainforest and café con helado dream. Two near-rotting oranges on the table, bright colors in the sea of all your empty Red Bull cans and paper mail clutter. One of them is a postcard where I ran out of room to scribble my name but was the product of not seeing you, of goddamn missing you for two weeks, so I sent it anyway.
My photo album of Polaroids I bet you never thought to open. A box of staples I never told you the story of how I acquired them. Watercolor paper, some brushstroke scribbles, my blobs of orange and red unidentifiable as fish. Two bowls, still filled with water, where I would dip my brush while you grunted in frustration across the room, oblivious. Winsor & Newton Cotman Water Colour Paint Sketchers’ Pocket Box Half Pans, 14-Pieces that I bought March 8, two years ago and have barely used. Just lounging in your living room, inert. Like the row of insect bodies behind the shade, displayed on that one windowsill across from the cemetery, corpses collected in Founder’s Ale bottle caps. And of course, the borrowed books on your shelf: A History of the Crusades and Out of the Silent Planet. All my New Yorker magazines in case I got bored. Or in case we ever had time to cut and paste erasure poetry together. A TS3122 Canon printer sitting, unplugged, as a book holder, in the far corner.
Coconut-scented shampoo and conditioner I always put back in the cabinet afterwards because the bottles are too big to live in your one-person shower. Four or five faded lavender towels, remnants from my time in the dorms last year. Apricot face scrub. A green-handled razor lying haphazardly in the corner by the bar of soap. Clorox wipes under the sink for all the times the bathroom was never cleaned, kept forgetting to, and you got sick.
None of my blouses or lacy—you always thought—sexy underthings. I made sure to take those with me. But the comforter, to keep you company, and the t-shirt-feeling bedsheets. The memory foam mattress pad, mostly so I would sleep better at night. Somewhere in your dresser, I know, are all my poems and love letters. All of my strands of hair woven in the carpet, into your clothes were placeholders for all the words I-never-promised-but-always-wanted-to-give to you. One of the hangers—you always hated hangers—in your closet belongs to me, from that dress I wore on Thanksgiving, but the things all look the same now, unidentifiable from yours or mine.
I probably forgot some things. Like the memory of you and me cooking spaghetti for the first time in that kitchen. That first steak dinner we ate, months later, at the dinner table. You know what happened in the living room; ironic, because I can’t stand that futon now, saturated with more than just our summer sweat. The feeling of my flesh at night, waking up to my kisses peppering the entirety of your face. I always found my own behavior annoying, but you never did. Never did. And I am perplexed as to why?