Packing Love in Bags

He was getting ready to go to work that hot morning when she called him. He hadn’t expected to hear from her and now that her name was splashed across the screen of his ringing phone, he didn’t know what to think. He was both excited and scared. Excited (unexpectedly) about hearing her voice again, and scared because all that was left between them now was a mess.
He answered the phone like it carried his death sentence, pressed it against his ear and said, ‘Hello.’
There was no small talk. No, “Hi, how have you been?” He had always liked that about her. How she had no room for bullshit in her life. She always called it as it was. That was how he had always found it easy to trust her. She was no hypocrite.
This morning, she called with one simple request. “Pack my stuff for me. Everything no matter how minute you might deem it. I’ll pick them up tomorrow morning.”
He wasn’t surprised. He had been expecting this request for a while now because she wasn’t the type to leave her stuff in a house that wasn’t hers or her man’s. He was no longer her man so her things had no business being at his place. He didn’t mind having them around but they weren’t his to keep.
So he called the office and called in sick.
Packing her clothes was simple. They were just pieces of fabric he had seen her in a million times. They brought back memories of course but it was like he was watching them (the memories) in a forgettable movie. A sweet couple that met when they were young, made each other happy, laughed incessantly, couldn’t keep their hands away from each other and couldn’t bear being away from each other for five minutes. Then the fights began and they destroyed each other because they simply loved each other too much.
He never understood how that could be. How they couldn’t stand being without each other even for a day yet all they did when they were together was fight? At some point, the couple he was watching in this forgettable movie – their once sweet and admirable relationship turned to a prison. Their prison guards was the fiercest love God created and their fellow prisoners were pride, arrogance and minute issues which when brought together made for prisoners to be reckoned with.
Finally, in anger, he broke out of this prison for a moment and there was simply no going back. She wouldn’t let him back in.
It was when he started packing her writing materials that the load came kicking. They used to keep their academic and work materials together and now he had to sort his out from hers. So he came across every single paper she ever wrote and those included notes they had passed each other in class and court. The sweet innocent nothings they had passed during boring afternoons – those are what grabbed his throat, choked him, climbed over his shoulders and brought him crashing down to his knees.
He called her intending to beg her not to let him go through those memories but when he heard her voice on the other side asking why he didn’t want to pack the books, all he could come up with was an, “I miss you.” It was lame to his ears because it was a hell of an understatement. And when she answered, “I don’t know what you want me to do about that” he knew she didn’t know how packing these memories made him feel.
A past Valentine’s Day letter she had written him read, “You are my life, the sweetest part of my dreams and I will never be without you.” It was now a crumpled and discolored paper lying at the bottom of a drawer and nibbled at endlessly by starving or cheeky cockroaches but what he saw was that Valentine’s Day. They had spent the day together, mostly holding hands and talking about their minds, hearts and souls. In the evening, she had presented him with the letter and cried telling him how he was the only reason why she woke up in the morning.
They had loved each other immensely and as he packed her life with him inside polythene bags, he knew he loved her still. He didn’t know if she loved him back. If she did, she wasn’t showing it and he was angry that he allowed himself to show it. “I miss you???????” He reprimanded himself as he tore the letter into a million little pieces and threw it in the trash. “How could you show her your weakness?! She doesn’t care!”
Sometimes he envied her. He envied how easily she was managing to put him away. He wished he could be like her. He wished he could drive himself to be like her. To think about her and convince himself that he never wanted to see her again. If he could be like her in this way, maybe his life would be a hell lot easier.
Yet he could do it all over again if she knocked on his door. He would answer it with a smile, a hug (if she’d let him) and no plan at all. He wouldn’t know what to do with her if she came back. Hell, he wouldn’t know what he would do with himself if she came knocking. All he knew was he loved her as deeply as he had the first time he knew he loved her.
An old friend of his had once told him that “If someone is capable of hurting you in a way that makes you think they have reached inside your chest, grabbed your beating heart in their hand, ripped it out and spat on it OR one simply capable of making you very VERY VEEEEEEEERY angry, it is because you have allowed them into your heart. It is because you have opened your doors and windows for them and welcomed them in. If you have someone like that in your life you lucky son of a bitch, hold them close with both hands and never let them go.”
For a second, he had forgotten how lucky a son of a bitch he was and now it was too little too late.
He grabbed a bunch of her books and shoved them in bags breathing hard with anger. He was angry that no matter his best efforts and intentions, it hadn’t worked between them. He had given it his all and so had she and he didn’t see what either one of them could’ve done differently. He just knew that it was over.
His eye caught a rough draft of a report she had written years before in her handwriting and against his better judgment, he began flipping the pages and pouring his attention therein. His mind wasn’t in what the report entailed but in her hand as she wrote it. He saw her fingers grasping the pen, her forehead creased with concentration, her upper lip curved in u-shape and her chin hardened. He saw himself reaching out and squeezing her hand gently. He saw her look up and her face soften with a smile.
And that was what broke him. He hurled a handful of books across the room screaming his pain and frustrations out. He kicked a nearby box spilling her stuff all over the floor and shuddered at the thought that the last time he’d cried, it was because she had made him so happy.
Allowing himself to vanish inside a swamp of his own agony, he stretched out on the floor, looked up at the ceiling with tears trickling over his ears on to the floor and waited for the knock on the door that he knew would never come.

This poem is about: 


Need to talk?

If you ever need help or support, we trust for people dealing with depression. Text HOME to 741741