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The Lala

I’ve been sleeping in the same sweater for weeks. I don’t want to wash it and risk removing your familiar scent, but I can tell it’s fading away. It reminds me of when you first kissed me in the car on the corner of Jones Street after our first date. Your lips tasted of garlic bread and red wine, and my fingers tightened around the sweater you were wearing. This sweater. It reminds me of someplace warm. It reminds me of when you loved me. It reminds me of home.

The walls used to radiate vibrant colors that didn’t match the space. Our apartment was too small. You complained about getting rid of old high school jerseys and I complained about minimizing my bookshelf. Deep down though, the size didn’t bother me—I liked being so close to you. But now you’ve taken down your wall art and I’ve taken down our photographs. There’s nothing left but chipped paint and holes in the wall where they used to be.  

All of a sudden, there were boxes surrounding me, and I couldn’t move without running into one. I couldn’t move without constantly being reminded that you were leaving. I didn’t realize how much of our stuff actually belonged to you.

I don’t like this. My apartment is too big. I drown in the emptiness you left behind. 

Sometimes, in the middle of the night, I call out for the cat to curl up at our my feet on the bed when the sun sleeps beyond the horizon. Though I realize that I won’t hear the little bell around his neck jingle anymore. He’s with you now. 

Just like how she’s with you now.

When you told me you were leaving, I hid away your favorite sweater. I like to imagine that you thought about staying to look for it, but you didn’t. Maybe you thought if you looked back, a tightness would settle in your chest and you’d decide to stay. Maybe you still couldn’t bear to see me in pain. Maybe you would have realized you still cared. 

In reality, you left without so much as a glance back, and I’ve been staring after you ever since.

Jessica Garrison is a professional writing major and women's, gender, and sexuality studies minor at Kutztown University.
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