In considerably less time than it took me to weave you into my life I’ve unravelled you from my physical existence.
I’ve erased the digital memory of you and of the brief moments that we were “us.” I have fading recollections of photos captured and words typed.
As always, I embark on my methodical routine of wiping the echo of your voice in my space. First the dishes from our last breakfast, the empty bottle of Sancerre from our last shared glass of crisp white wine. The wine glasses themselves, I could have never kept them, they resonate of you and they have to go.
I imagine a more fulfilling existence for them, in living rooms and dining rooms surrounded by laughter and warm lighting, by budding romances and deepening friendships. Surely a better future than in my cupboard being mourned and remaining empty while I contemplate our short lived relationship.
I tidy up, like I always do: the sofa, the cushions, the vase you bought catches my eye. I can’t keep it, it will always remind me of our first week together. Of coming home to you, to a vase full of blooms bursting with life, with colour, with potential.
All it represents now is unfulfilled possibilities rather than the promise of a life whole with the warmth of your touch.
I want it to be full, to be loved, to live somewhere else free of the sad past it now speaks of. I want it to represent happiness rather than loss, I want it to spread joy rather than sadness and I want it to be full always. I never want the vase you gave me to feel my emptiness and so like the wine glasses it must go.
I walk around the small flat, changing where things are in an attempt to maybe change how I feel. I find the scented candles we burnt, the wicks of which are at the bottom of the glass, charred lying in a thin disk of what’s left of the wax. Faint smell still lingering but never to be lit again; they must be washed, must be given a new beginning.
The yellow lighter you bought—it has to go too—at no fault of its own. It no longer is just a lighter.
In my psyche it has evolved to become an object, which makes my eyes well with tears I refuse to cry. It was what you used to light all the candles on our last evening together.
You loved candles as much as I did, I must remember to give the tea lights a new home. They shall never be lit in mine again. They smell of sweet vanilla. You bought them for us to use when you came around the first time. I will never use them; I want them to glow in someone else’s rooms, to reflect in someone else’s mirrors.
I finally get to the bedroom and so wish that I could strip my memory of you and of us like I strip the sheets off my bed.
How I wish I could crawl into a giant washing machine and spin for an hour and a half in warm water and detergent that smells of summer sunshine.
How I wish I could come out at the end of the cycle like the sheets—stain free and glowing of their original whiteness. They will never recall the soot from the oil lamp, they will never hold on to the creases we made in them and they will never again smell of us. I wish I could come out of this unscathed like the bedding we shared.
How I wish I could crawl out of the washing machine and into the dryer, gently tumbling till I’m soft again, till my tears are dry, till my heart melts, till I’m light again and bouncy and ready for life.
Just like pulling a loose thread on a jumper and watching it become nothing but a tangled pile of wool on the floor. That’s all I have left of you and of us—-a heap of memories soft and knotted, warm and cold, broken and whole.
The numerous clichés cloud my thoughts as I reminisce about our time together, and I come to accept that it will take me far longer to get over you than the time we were a couple.
How I wish I were only a set of white linen sheets.
Love elephant and want to go steady?
Apprentice Editor: Dana Gornall / Editor: Catherine Monkman
Photo Credit: Consuela Rusu/ Pixoto