The Names We Write on the Wall

When she was ending things with me, she was gentle and sweet in the way she always is. There was nothing left to say because she wasted no words. It was done by the end of lunch. Then, she pulled out items from her purse that gave away that this was planned to a dot; how characteristically considerate of her, I mused.

It was my “stuff”. We didn’t last long enough for stuff to become sentimental stuff. Just an umbrella I gave to her when it was raining, gloves to keep her hands warm on a really cold night, and iPod earphones I’d accidentally left over at her place.

Like I said, it was short but it’s remarkable how quickly our iconography intrudes into the life of another. We’ve evolved from the days when great men would etch their names on the sides of buildings. Now, we’re content to leave our legacies strewn on the relationship lawn, happy to write ourselves into another person’s life through the stylus pen that is our stuff. Like those great men of history, we just don’t want to be forgotten.

It’s important not to write your first draft in permanent ink though. We sketch in pencil and then do our best after that to draw inside the lines. If there was a silver lining, it’s that my pair of gloves wasn’t a couch, or earphones my college hoodie. My umbrella was not an engagement ring. Sometimes I wonder how people can muster the verve to return such things and how hard it must be to get them back.

Taking stock of what I got back, I realized that I didn’t have anything of hers to return. Not much to read into, sure, but perhaps the universe has a way of whispering the signs to you, if you’re only willing to listen.

Anyways, these were the thoughts that kept my head low as I sauntered back to my apartment, a bit beaten by the day. All of a sudden, a car screeched to a stop at my feet, almost hitting me. The driver, who obviously had no consideration for my emotional state of mind, rolled down the window and screamed,

Hey Fuckstick, keep your head up when you’re walking!

What a shit ending to a shit day, I thought. But before I could respond with that finely-tuned New York sass, a smile betrayed the irony of the moment and I had to laugh. If the universe has a way of whispering its age-old advice, it can certainly shout its encouragements at the most appropriate of moments, if not in the strangest of ways.

Keep your head up. Keep walking.




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3 responses to “The Names We Write on the Wall

  1. Joy

    Now that you’ve mentioned it, I gave back a lot of his stuff – socks, sweats, it filled up a plastic bag – and the only thing he needed to give me was the key to my house.

  2. Just last week I asked to have my things messengered to me, and I gave him a list. It included a lint roller.

  3. Hmmmmmmnn. . . For me there was nothing to return either way. The only thing I wanted returned was my sanity, peace of mind and dignity and walking away began the gradual process of doing that!

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