It’s amazing how quickly everything can be cleaned and there still be a mess. When she learned her father died, she stood up and began to straighten the room, stacking the coffee table magazines into neat uniform piles. Folding dirty laundry. Containing.
When he learned she was cheating, he didn’t shout or ask questions. He boxed things. Her things. Their things. His restaurant receipts, any proof they’d ever been a “they.” They rearranged mess to deal with their own.
The winter when she told him she wanted a divorce, she withdrew to the basement and up heaved her summer clothing from boxes, sorting through her past to prepare for her uncertain future. I watched her and waited for her to cry. She plunged her fists through piles of linen, up to her arms in pastels, but she didn’t cry. Not that day.
It amazes me that I could spend a week packing for a weekend away in Los Angeles, yet spend twenty minutes packing my things to leave in anger, what I thought would be a lifetime. We become quite efficient when we’re in shock, anger, or pain. It’s when we’re happy that our rooms become picnic grounds. My apartment is a mess.