Dirty Laundry

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Getting over someone is harder than it looks– kinda like doing laundry. What at first seems like just an overflowing pile of clothes, comes the responsibility of organizing each article into separate smaller piles of darks and lights, taking a couple trips to and from the washing machine/dryer, and hunting for hidden quarters around the apartment. Maybe the worst part of doing laundry though is that it stays with us for hours. Depending on how many loads we have, doing laundry can take up a chunk of your time. Sure, you can do work while the machines are running, but every 30 minutes to an hour you have to stop what you’re doing to move things around. When you’re doing laundry, it doesn’t really leave you until the clothes are folded up and ready to go for another week or two. 

Like laundry, getting over someone seems simple at first, right? All you have to do is give the person space, accept that you can “just be friends”, talk it out, smile and be grateful for the great times you used to share, right? Well, maybe it’s a little more challenging than that. Maybe it doesn’t have to be, but when you’re in love, not everything is the way it should be, and things don’t always make sense. 

You see, like doing a load of laundry, getting over someone usually entails a sort of taking stock of all the things that used to be. We take these articles, the pieces of memories and experiences and we separate them into different piles: the dark, the light, the colors; they all come back to us. And we’re responsible for dealing with them one at a time. 

Since my breakup was pretty recent, as I dug through the heap of clothes in my closet and organized everything into darks and lights, I came across clothes that were last worn when my boyfriend was last over. When we were still together. It sounds trivial but I almost convinced myself that these clothes didn’t need to be washed. They still smelled fine. I could smell little traces of him and his aftershave. Part of me didn’t want to wash that shirt or that cardigan or those sweatpants. Not yet. 

I did, but it wasn’t easy. I saw some of the clothes he lent me too, some that he gave to me on a whim because he was feeling generous. Even my dirty laundry had memories of him;  memories begging to be recognized and revisited. How annoying. I’m one of those people now. 

But there’s something else that I learned tonight. If there’s anything to take away from this extended metaphor it’s that like laundry, cleaning out the dirty laundry takes time. It’s like…I’m doing fine, I can do work and move around and I can function fine without him, but then every so often I have to stop and move things around again. It never really leaves me. I’m still making piles, still digging in the cracks of my heart for some little quarter of hope, still running up and down, still trying to clean up.

And it’s going to take some time. 

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