I was wrong when I said the saddest part about breaking up with TWD was breaking up with his kids. That was a sad part but the actual saddest part was breaking up with him, as evidenced in the unpacking.
We had the handoff on Sunday morning. I gave him back his house key, the ID badge he’d accidentally left on my desk, some Star Wars candy I’d forgotten to give him for Christmas and the letters for his kids. Everything fit into a small brown paper bag.
He gave me a huge box and two large bags: the robe I’d bought so to avoid accidental exposure around his children, the “soccer mom” pjs, the Game of Thrones tank top and matching flannels he made for my Christmas present last year, the yoga pants, the toiletries, the pumpkin spice scrub his sister-in-law gave me, the wine he’d bought for my parents, the copy of Love and Other Demons I’d loaned him, the boots I’d left in his closet in the hopes of someday going for a romp through the snow with my boyfriend…
Par for the course, everything was neatly packed and perfectly folded and I don’t know why but the folding put me over the edge. Of course he’d fold it all perfectly. He always folded everything perfectly. Even my underwear.
But that wasn’t the worst part.
The worst part was finding the nightgown that I must have worn the last time I spent the night at his house. It still smelled like him.
Everything else just smelled like laundry detergent or the inside of his dresser drawer but not the nightgown. It smelled like him, and smelling him put me over the edge all over again.
I didn’t even like how he smelled half the time. I was always after him to open the windows, to get some fresh air. Sometimes I had to remind him to brush his teeth before going to bed. In fact, the first time we had sex, I made him shower before and after. But there was something—his soap, I think, or maybe his shampoo—that I never could get enough of.
So being the rational person that I am, I decided I might as well listen to some decent music if I was going to stand there sobbing over a stupid nightgown, and being the masochist that I am, I figured our song (Stand By Me by Prince Royce) was as good a choice as any other.
I’d successfully avoided it all week. It was that song that convinced me not to break up with him in August and even though that was the right course of action at the time, it was not the right course of action this time. I didn’t want to back slide. In fact, I’d been doing a pretty good job of keeping busy all week. I went to yoga on Tuesday, met a friend for drinks on Wednesday, met another friend for drinks on Thursday, went to the art museum for more drinks on Friday and went to not one but two parties on Saturday.
After the handoff though, I couldn’t help myself.
It would have been funny if it were a romantic comedy: me dancing around by myself, alternately smelling and blowing my runny nose into said nightgown. I even considered burying it beneath my pillow for the occasional sniff but eventually decided, after some deliberation, that only a truly crazy person would do a thing like that. (And that I, being less crazy than truly crazy, would simply toss the whole godforsaken snot-covered, tear-stained mess into the laundry as soon as our song ended).
The problem with romantic comedies is that break ups are always followed by sexy rebound men and slightly-less-sexy but-nonetheless-decent happily ever after men. I know I’m not ready for either just yet—probably not for some time—so in my case it’s not funny. In my case I’m just a crazy person burying my nose in an old nightgown.