She stared at the half-empty room, the dustballs in the corners, the garbage bag at her feet. Her clothes had overflowed the suitcases, so she had resorted to black plastic. She felt there should be some significance to that, to the fact that her belongings were tossed in trash liners, piled in grocery bags (the reusable kind, of course), and thrown half-hazard into her car. Three years of her life, her entire adult existence, was in shambles, ripped from its rightful place at 2851 Auburn Avenue and stuffed into a little white Corolla.
Maybe if she had expected it, it wouldn’t be ForceFlex and laundry baskets. Maybe if she had known, she would have had boxes and bins. But she didn’t know. She didn’t expect it. How could she, though? When the mindless coexistence had gone on for so long, when she wasn’t sure there was ever meant to be anything more? She was barely an adult—how was she to know?
But deep down, she knew. She always knew. The dreams, the freak-outs. The feeling of being trapped. Of course, on those occasions, she diligently pushed the doubts away, knowing she had chosen her course and believing she had to live with it. She really didn’t; she could have broken from the path any time. But she was never good at closing doors, even when they screamed for it. And so three years passed.
She tossed her head back, letting it flop backward onto her shoulders. She wanted to scream. She also wanted to cry. And some part of her wanted to start throwing things. Like a toaster. With rocks in it. She laughed miserably, he would get that one. So obviously, she did none of the above. She clenched her jaw, fought the burning in her eyes, and looked back at the dreary bedroom.
The low growl at her feet alerted her to her packing mate. The little dog, her Little Dog, LD, Fish, Fishy—he stared up at her with his big watery eyes, still growling.
“No, you can’t come,” she explained as though he understood. The ache in her gut threatened to drop her. She let it, sinking to the ground. It was over, it was over, it was over. But how could it be over? How could everything she had planned, had expected, just be gone? How could he have done it? How could he be OK with it?
But it wasn’t his life in garbage bags. It was hers.