The title is tentative, hell though, a lot of things are.
This is too much
"Do you want these clothes hangers?" She asked him. And in doing so threw them directly on to the bed that he had claimed two hours prior. She had, however, just claimed the down comforter and half the pillows. They lay neatly folded by her collection of mis-matched though mostly blue and gold floral print luggage in the corner nearest the door in the single room loft they had rented for as long as a good real summer in San Francisco. By his count it was a strong solid five months, though her count was merely their three. The lease said four.
He had noticed the four or five clothes hangers put to this test, should he protest, were all just wire. Yet not but ten minutes ago he saw from the corner of his eye she had stuffed all the thick white plastic reliable hangers into her white plastic trash bag. This heavy-duty-sixty-four-gallon plastic bag was all she had left to save her things with. He loved to see the plastic hangers shoved and showing like her thin bones through that bag, it had reminded him of her ribs, hips, and oddly enough her tongue.
"No, you keep them, or if you would, if you must, we can barter, I know you have more clothes than me, keep them," he said.
This was good, more sharp items pressing into the white plastic bag, gouging it under such pressure. If it should burst open, in front of their home, on the corner of Folsom and 7th Street on her way to her borrowed zipcar she most likely wouldn’t even bother picking it up. It is such a hopelessly crime ridden street, and so poorly lit.
Then he thought of those pillows, the half he had resigned to her. She had fluffed them prior to her decision. She had hugged and touched up all four of them, and then taken the best. Of the even four pillows, two were introduced by each party upon moving in, though the various washing and buying of new matching cases had misplaced their owners identities entirely. Besides who honestly keeps in touch with their pillows among, amidst, a relationship? She had sworn she did, and he knew his interjections, most often over the smallest things, often led to violence. The larger discussions, however, were never violent for they most often occurred upon this couples intoxication, which weakened them greatly. Besides, he thought, It was better this way, these were the casualties of their love, his soft pillows and her wire hangers.
"Alright then," she had said, "I'll take them, anyways, you barely hang up anything anyway."
He just then noticed she used the word "any" way too much.
She grabbed the hangers and shoved them deep into the plastic bag, their ridges showing through as well, the white plastic of the bag going from two percent to skim in all its most vulnerable places.
He smiled. He wondered, what else can I get into that bag?
I can drown you, He thought, I can break this, with everything.
Her mother sent her porcelain figurines in the mail every month. He had despised them. They slowly assembled and assumed the entirety of their mantle, which he had hoped would hold something with more character, such as the art of a friend, or an autographed baseball.
"I couldn't keep these," he said, "Your mother would want you to have them."
They were ballerina cows in pink tutus, all shimmering in sharp leg kicks, their arms outwardly reaching. He then helped her load them into her plastic bag, knowing the sharp edges and weight were working with him.
He wanted to give her his knives, yet he knew that he would miss cooking.
He wanted so badly for her hobbies to include bowling and for her to have a custom ball and for its case to go missing at the last second.
He wanted more weight.
He thought of their trip to IKEA months ago and wished he had sought after the more awkward to move furniture, knowing once they had brought it to this place together it would either remain, or be a world ending hassle to move out once again. Could awkward furniture be a viable cause to staying together? He thought about the promises a couple makes when purchasing a full size piano, perhaps a billiards table. He thought about the sword in the stone, and so he moved on with her into the kitchen. Once there he helped her load her bag more, gave her half the forks and knives, but he hid all the spoons. She had never liked soup, anyway.
She moved to the blender, “Don’t you remember?” She asked him, “The blender was a gift from my father, it was a house warming gift to us.”
“Oh yeah,” He said. He thought of the last two words of her sentence, “to us.”
He did remember, he remembered because the blender had come with a note which she read out loud to him.
“This should help you blend in! With love, Dad,” is what the note had said, and she read it in a high tone usually reserved for water cooler gossip mimicking over enthusiastic bosses among co-workers. This was a tone secretaries are born with, before they know they will become secretaries, a tone he had experienced too much at his place of work, far too much. So far too much, in fact, so much so, that he had remembered reaching for the whiskey, the Coca-Cola and a bag of ice to make them whiskey-coke slushies with their brand new blender right then and there. An action he remembered then being interrupted be her handing him the said note.
Now though, months later, after their summer was over, she bent down to unplug the blender. “Wait,” he stopped her, “I have an idea, put down your trash bag, and wait a second.” While opening the freezer door he said to her, “If you’re going to take it, lets just, for one last time,” he turned around with a bag of ice in his hand and forced a smile.
The sun was about to go down and the winter breeze that made everyones fingers a little more stiff had blown in, glove and scarf sales were on the rise, and he had thought of nothing better then to make some blended drinks. She gave him a long lost look, somewhat confused, possibly irritated, ultimately questionable. He knew this wasn’t good enough. So he turned up the heater and then lit up the fire place below the mantle where her figurines danced only twenty minutes ago. He closed the curtains but turned on the porch light in an effort to eclipse a false sense of daylight. He took off his coat then his sweater, striping down to merely his jeans and a cotton t-shirt bearing a logo of a pizza shop in north beach that he had worked for in college. He returned to her and wished the hair on his forearms down, wished the warmth back in to their apartment and faster.
“It’s really starting to warm up out there are you sure you wouldn’t like a frosty beverage?” he asked her, lying through his teeth.
He didn’t wait for an answer, if this blender was partly his, in at least a time shared sense, it would be his right now. He reached for the whiskey and when he did he reached for the highest bottle. It was far out of her reach at the top of two IKEA shelves they had bought together, though only he had installed, which he figured made them his, besides they were anchored to the wall with deep screws and she didn’t know how to use the power drill.
He poured in the ice and then the whiskey. Then he poured in the coke and then the last half scoop of vanilla ice cream he could find. He placed the lid back on the blender and held down the only button on the whole thing, simply labeled, Blend. It went by so fast though, the blending. He thought it went by so fast because he knew as long as it rang out he would not be able to hear her, and if he could not hear her, she was not, after all, leaving.
When it was properly mixed he grabbed their two favorite pint glasses, one with a large A on it, the other a matching large T, which were their initials, filled them to the top and handed her one, her head still slightly shaking in disagreement.
“To us,” he said in cheers, raising his glass and repeating the last two words she had said, “to us,” he repeated again, slightly smirking as the temperature in the room slowly began to climb.
“What do you take of all this?” she asked glancing around their loft after taking a shallow drink.
He looked at her excited for the possibility of pushing her limits, not at all as far as the alcohol was concerned, merely in her extreme sensitivity for brain freeze. When she did encroach the ever paralyzing state of brain freeze she did this incredible thing, she found the most bottom of her ears and pressed them with her thumbs, she then let her fore fingers rest at the top of her ears and began to rub them in a timed sequence of pressure and her very own countdown of five seconds clockwise and five counter clockwise. She did this with all of her other fingers reaching stretched outwards. She didn’t count out loud but when her hands were on her head in such a fashion and she was concentrated so much so it became quite obvious where her priorities lie.
He wanted her hands on her head making like a reindeer, her white plastic trash bag by her side bulging with perishables and now warming up due to the heater and the fireplace. In the warmth this plastic would expand and thin out more so.
They were an honest month before christmas, he just wanted this.
"I don't know. Are we going out with style? I'm certainly having fun."
"Thats not what I meant. Did you really think this would work?" She again gestured about the messy loft.
He shrugged his shoulders.
By no means was this surprising for him, it had become something of a necessity over the years, a tradition, no, an extradition. Since moving to San Francisco five years ago he had spent every christmas alone despite harboring girlfriends and affairs throughout the spring and summer. These were his marathons, and the line between training and running them had greatly blurred, all he could ever always remember was lying on the floor coughing up liquor in his last mile, yet never finishing. At those times he couldn’t ask more of his lungs then to cough, to throw themselves vigorously about his chest leaving his throat and himself a mere marionette to the instinct of life.
He certainly knew what he would be doing after she had left.
This whole experience though, the closing of their accounts, felt like that tour all renters take their landlords on after they have given up their apartments. They admit to their hopeless defeats. As a child he had once come to explain the crayon scrawling on the wall as if cavemen were safe from abuse. Now he would have to find new excuses for the cigarette burns in the carpet, the unexplainable stains in the bathtub, “she liked to color her hair,” he thought he would one day say, “except always, apparently, always red,” is what he would most likely hear the landlord retort in response.
She did come to toast him, of course reluctantly, how else could she? She used her teeth as a thin grill to filter the chopped ice back into the glass, allowing only the whiskey and coke into her mouth. She had imperfect teeth now deemed perfect for this operation, and it made her smile when she thought of it.
“I’ll only have this one,” she assured him.
He held up the pitcher he pulled off the blenders base and shook it to break off the ice that froze to the glass sides, “I suppose we’ll have to finish this before we can clean it, otherwise, what a waste.”
“That’s perfect,” she said, entirely over thinking his entire statement, “we do have to finish this.”
At this he finished his first glass and refilled it, leaving only a quarter of the blender still full. The blender came to four servings even, and the last bit was hers, he made it so by a loose gesture in waving it at her.
She left her spread and stretched trash bag in the kitchen and wandered into their once bathroom. She didn’t bother closing the door once their, but she opened and slammed several drawers collecting her various hair dyes and shampoos, she trucked them back to the kitchen dropping them in to the bag carelessly. He stood there drinking over her upon every return to the kitchen. She found her hair care product bottles to be shaped in such a way that the carrying of more then three was impossible. After the three required trips she rushed back with a box of Q-tips, the standard 500 pack. They had used around half of the pack. He smiled truthfully when he saw her confused face. He dreamt of them breaking it open and then splitting them clean even, even if their was an odd amount left they could cut one of them in half, and that was the beauty of Q-tips, every split couple was a lotted their fare share. He knew she used them more often than him, but he didn’t care.
“What about these then?”
He raced to a kitchen drawer and pulled a plastic sandwich sized bag out of a box, its box already half emptied about ten minutes earlier, her half of the bags resting inside of her white trash bag.
“We can do this,” he said.
He held the sandwich bag up like an answer. She once again gave him a confused look, he was far more intoxicated than she was, and she could tell.
“The box is yours, just give me half of what’s inside,” He said this almost laughing, knowing the Q-tips would garner no weight nor pressure for her great bag of halves and must haves.
At this she laughed, a sarcastic pitied laugh, “Really? Down to the last Q tip eh.”
“We can do this,” He said again.
“Just have them, I can’t do this, you maybe, I can’t.”
She attempted to pick up the white bag yet its weight ultimately lead to her pulling and sliding it towards the door, the whole of it all kinds of heavy and awkward. He thought to help her with it, but then came to realize if it should burst under his watch he may very well be blamed, besides it was full of smaller things and his experience with smaller things was from time to time quite violent.
She trudged forward, her thin frame wearing about three outfits and now sweating from the heater and fireplace. These were the same three outfits she could not seem to fit into the suitcase that she had mentally labeled clothes earlier that morning as she began to pack to leave, without telling him, while he slept in, as he always did on sundays. He did wake that morning to her jumping and sitting on that same case once it was full, to get it to close. Brushing her bangs back behind her hair and catching her breath she looked up at him, “a couple of months ago all my clothes fit in here,” she had said, a couple of months ago, she had thought, I didn’t have nearly as much of anything, this is too much.
“Where are you going?” he had simply replied.