A few months after my ex-boyfriend moved out after our breakup, I decided to move, too. The days leading up to my moving out of the apartment we shared were strange ones, plagued by a range of emotions and thoughts.
A couple weeks before I left, I hosted one last party. There was food and beer and wine, and the leftovers from it were eventually thrown out because there’s absolutely no reason to move perishables if you don’t have to. For one more time in that apartment, my friends gathered around me and supported me, and I felt loved.
Then they left, and I realized that the party was my last excuse not to pack.
I bought boxes. I was then gifted second-hand boxes in the parking lot of a Home Depot by a woman who saw that I bought far too few boxes and took pity on me.
I still did not pack.
Instead, I was suddenly be inspired to write an in-depth, 1,500-word investigative article about a topic requiring days of research. I also picked that time to realize it had always been my dream to write an episode for a friend-of-a-friend’s web series and so I did that, too. I escaped my stiflingly hot apartment and sat in coffee shops and wrote and decidedly did not pack.
Three days before I moved, I had a meltdown. I constructed Home Depot boxes and attempted to construct bankers boxes, but those ones are harder, and I lost confidence in myself entirely. I found old photos of me and my ex-boyfriend and I texted my friend Stefanie while crying in the middle of a pile of cardboard.
I found many artifacts. I unearthed the matching red “his” and “hers” coffee mugs I bought for our second anniversary. These were utterly useless to me because even if I met some other man someday, you can’t re-gift a “his” mug like that. I contemplated smashing it and keeping the “hers” one for myself.
I packed both, because I am a fool.
I found my ex’s charger for his razor, which he had asked me about after he left. I found odds and ends he left but did not ask about, and I threw them away with relish.
I realized I owned three nearly identical blue dresses. I asked myself which best defined me, as a person. I decided to donate one of the three but changed my mind.
Eventually I managed to put everything I owned in a box within 72 hours. I loathed myself for owning too much stuff.
I asked Stefanie if she could come over the night before the move so I wouldn’t be alone, drinking too much wine and asking my ex to come over and help me bag up my mattress before the movers came. She apologized and reminded me she would still be in DC and I felt like a bad friend for not being able to keep basic details of my closest friends’ lives straight.
That plastic mattress-covering thing was still a legitimate concern though, so when my friend Jaimi offered to come by after a class that night, I was grateful.
I sat with Jaimi on my couch, the one item of furniture untouched because it was where I would sleep that night. I told her I was glad she was there, and I drank enough pinot grigio to distract myself from what was happening.
“Don’t text him,” she reminded me as she left.
I didn’t. I felt ashamed when I realized just how proud of myself I was.
I woke up on moving day. I packed up my glasses and my aunt’s antique dish set with care. I carefully wrapped a Beatles pint glass in plastic and then promptly dropped it. It did not survive.
I got mad at myself. I cried. I took sad pictures of packed boxes and posted them on Instagram. I got bored and left to get coffee while I waited for the movers.
I realized with a pang of unease this was the last time I would walk from my apartment to my corner coffee shop where the baristas either knew my first name or at least recognized me. I considered telling the man who handed me my coffee that I was moving. I didn’t.
I sat and waited. I felt sadness and relief battling for my attention and I didn’t choose one.
I stood up and walked away from a huge mess I’d paid three men to deal with.
I moved on.
[Image via FOX]