Thursday, December 06, 2007

Breakables & Unbreakability

I can understand why a person might steal. I can even almost understand why a husband might steal from his wife. I can grasp the concept of wanting all the money instead of just half of it. I'm the same way with pie. I can likewise understand why he also took the car, and the apartment, and all of the furniture. Having a couch is good. Having a couch, a love seat, a lounger and 3 chairs is much better. And it's perfectly understandable that he'd feel entitled to both the dining table and the little kitchen table. After all, he's got all the dishes, all the damask napkins, all the serving platters, all the candle sticks, and even the little pot holders that my grandmother crocheted for my hope chest when I was 8 - the poor guy needs a place to put them all! And I certainly don't begrudge him all the bedding, including the Winnie the Pooh set my mother gave me when I left for school, or the Star Wars set I inherited from my cousin Tim. I mean, come on - he took the bed, so what the hell would I do with sheets and blankets anyway?

So yeah. I kind of get it. It's nice to be able to buy food, and have an oven to heat it in, and a fork to eat it with.

What I don't understand is why he would also steal a drawer full of my underwear. What is he doing with my panties? Wait - don't answer that. Turns out, I'd rather not know. Rather not even consider it. Rather not picture him walking around his lonely apartment with lace chafing in all the wrong places.

But I would like to know why he's also taken my mittens. When he leaves the house bundled in the leather coat I bought him and gets into the car that isn't his, does he feel guilty that his hands are warm and mine are not? Or does he watch the weather network (while wearing the red silk thong) and gloat over my frostbitten fingers?

Does he feel like a big man when he puts on my cupcake pjs, pours some champagne into my monogrammed flutes, tosses aside my suede throw pillows and sits down to watch Love Story?

Is he proud to have robbed me of Christmas - of my mistletoe bar ware, my gingerbread cookie jar, the papier-mache reindeer ornament that I hand-painted just last year?

He's got every photograph I've ever taken, every poem I've ever written, every memento I ever deemed worth keeping. They're just things, but they're my things, my lifetime of things, and he's holding them hostage. The only thing he's not taking is his medication, but maybe if I wrote my name on the bottle he'd want that too.

I grieve for the man that I married, lived with and loved as if he's dead. For me, he is. He doesn't exist anymore. He's been replaced by a thief who's stolen more than just my possessions. I picture the man I married buried somewhere underneath the things taken from me - beneath broken promises, broken vows, broken hearts. I might have been buried there too, suffocating under the collapsed burden of the fraudulent life we built together, had I not taken my leave when I did.

He can have the teacup that belonged to my dead Aunt Mary, and the picture frame that my sister made me when I graduated high school, and the video tape of my third grade recital. It'll take a lot more than that to break me. Those are just relics of a past life anyway. I don't need them anymore.

So pardon me if my smile is too bright for a woman who's just lost everything. My new life may be sparsely furnished, but it's mine, and nobody can take it away.

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