I find abandoned things from time to time. I have found phones,manuscripts, a box of jello, The Feminine Mystique. I have abandoned things: a slip, a hairbrush, a box of condoms, self-discipline, a bicycle.
Tonight I found a single white rose by the trash chute. In perfect condition, fresh and soft, still wrapped in a plastic sheath. It made me sad to think that a fresh rose would be so unwanted. Did someone’s date go poorly tonight? Naturally, I took it in. But I wondered as I set it on the counter, what good does this do? What can I do with a single rose? I suppose I can put it in water and wait for it to die. And then once it does, I can abandon it again. It seems harsh. This is why I hate receiving flowers — there really is nothing to do with them. I wondered if the person who received it went through the same thought process, and decided to get rid of it before the misery began. Obviously, they had some sympathy for the flower, leaving it merely beside the trash chute rather than chucking the whole thing in. So I did the thing anyway, and it’s sitting in a tiki glass on my counter in some water.
A while ago I found what I consider to be a bachelor box abandoned by the trash chute. It was a cardboard box full of packages of Rice-A-Roni and cheap cans of alcohol. I imagine it was someone trying to move beyond a certain stage of life where Jeremiah Weed Sweet Tea and sodium are no longer staples. Clearly, I am not beyond that stage of life, and I thanked them for their charity.
I found a break-up box once, too. It was full of sweaters that were nice, but slightly too large for me, unopened tea-tree oil and mint shampoo, and a favorite mug. It was left by the trash chute as well and I waited a whole day to pass of it unclaimed before I took it in. I had a friend, long ago, who after a break up took a photo of his ex’s stuff that he had left behind piled up in boxes by the garbage, and texted the photo to him on his birthday. He never heard back from him.
Lately, I’ve found myself abandoned. You don’t really think you did, but it’s true you thought your life would be better elsewhere and as a result of this I am alone. The paltry words of affection you offer me do not fill the void where you once lay beside me. They do not quell the obsessive thoughts about you, wondering if you are thinking of me, wondering if you love me, wondering if we’ll have a future together. What good does this do? What can I do in an empty home? There is no one to put up my Christmas decorations for, no one to see when I roll out of bed. I suppose I can keep hollowly treading forth, waiting to see you again. Waiting for it to die? I can’t stand that thought, but the waiting feels like undeath. It isn’t living. Obviously, you have some attachment to me or you would have broken it off outright. You say this is for our future, but I cannot see beyond six months from now in my haze. And six months from now you will still be gone.
What is there to do? I have to keep going through a blank horizon before I can reach our destination.
I have to keep going…
and looking by the trash chute
to see what’s left for me…