Just me in here.

Echoes play on the picture-less walls. I can yell and have my voice bounce back at me. Do I always sound this way? The furniture gone, too, left for some Goodwill worker holding a reduced price sticker, selling all the memories I stored in the fabric for a couple bucks.

Way too spacious in my living room. Every corner cleared of the pieces of me I kept so diligently over the years. This cleaning a silent reckoning; the smudge marks on the walls asking “hey, where are the things that hid us?”

The lampshade has five bulbs and three burned out and I will never replace them, the kitchen has dust in the corners I never cared about, my dining room has no table to dine on, some old CD I found plays simple songs that make me think of home and my computer wonders why I am furiously typing on it, as if my memories, if not typed quick enough, will corrode and sink into non-memorable cranial drawers.

If restart were a button I could slam, would I do it? Live it all again, only a better way? Situate myself to flare brighter, or laugh longer, or write myself on these walls with permanent markers so the next person will know what kind of life I poured into this apartment.

And what if I left the nail where your photo hung? Just left it there, penetrating the wall defiantly, saying if you remove me there will only be a hole. 

Still more things to rifle through, never-ending bulges of clothing and trinkets I can’t bring myself to toss aside, stimulating my senses with the smells and sounds and sights of an empty apartment now unsure of its nakedness.

And the things I leave behind, I secretly wonder if they will ever find me again, probably not, how strange, how sad, that I should feel this way. Have I ever accepted change? Not to the best of my ability, to be sure. But who really does? Who says Yes, good riddance to this all and really means it?

Who can shut the door on a former life, lock it up and throw away the key without giving it a second thought, or at least a second peek inside to make sure nothing too endearing has been left behind? Like oh yeah, that boogie board, I should take it, because we rode it together once, in that big ole ocean, we rode it together and laughed on it together and laid on it so the sand wouldn’t turn into mud on our watery skin; or that graduation necklace, or the extra pillowcases that smell like summer and the girl, or the fan with all the dust it has collected, or the keychain with a photo on it that has dimmed itself black but is special nonetheless? Do these things not belong in the next page of a man’s lifebook? Or at least in some cupboard that has room for extra special things that hold no monetary value but are priceless nonetheless? I wonder if these things had voices, would they cry? Ask Why are you leaving us? Like the first toy soldier I fought imaginary ghosts with? Or the piece of paper that has lipstick lips pressed into it? Or the flower that died long ago after my great grandmother’s funeral but still looks as beautiful as the day it blossomed?

So sad, to leave it all behind.

But necessary, yes, convincing myself with the sounds of echoes and the tastes of dustballs and the sight of that nail driven into the wall, looking lonely, but needing to stay.



One thought on “This Empty Apartment

  1. I’m not embarrassed to say I’m silently shedding a few tears. Some happy, some sad. It’s not leaving things behind. It’s gathering them up in your memory and taking them with you on this new journey! Well done…

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