Candy wrappers and unopened bank statements. Handwritten directions to properties for sale, other women’s numbers, receipts that mapped out the months that we traveled, fixed the car, rewired the house, ate out, bought books. He had cleaned out his car one day when he was about to leave on a trip. All the clutter from his floorboards went into a plastic Giant bag, which I discovered again today, under my kitchen table. I was cleaning my house, reclaiming my space, keeping my mind busy now that he’s gone for good.
He had enough money that, when his statements from various banks came in the mail, he just left them in the car, unopened. He wasn’t putting money in, just living off the proceeds of the sale of his house in his last divorce. The real estate bubble was good to him, I guess.
I live off fiscal optimism and low expectations. He hated my relationship to money.
I sorted the contents of the bag as best I could. I was already filling a box with his things to send him, so the mail and the receipts went in there. Wrappers in the trash, receipts too faded to read, I recycled. An old pipe and clamp from a car repair I staged to add to metal recycling by the barn. I got to the bottom of the Giant bag, just grit and leaves. I was done.
I washed the kitchen floor, hands and knees. I sorted shelves and shelves of junk, easily letting go of stuff that hadn’t been visible to me in years, picture frames I’d meant to use, some CD rack…Boxes for giveaway, boxes to take to the classroom, recycling, laundry…And the walls of my rooms seemed to step back, admiring corners forgotten until excavation.
Then another waste bucket was full, ready to go to the cans. as I pulled the plastic awkwardly I could see them spread across the trash–Hershey’s–those immortal candy wrappers. He was going with me all the way to the trash, getting the last word, sweet talking me as I discarded him again.
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