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. 



  1. I fully remember having an argument with my bf the other week and we happened to be in his apt, which he keeps pretty nasty. Instead of expressing my anger and feelings like an adult my inner volcano started boiling up and I just grabbed everything I saw in site and threw it out, folded it up, put it away like a madwoman, like a maid on speed, like scary housekeeper, it was so weird. It took 12 minutes or so of this behavior before he yelled WHAT THE HELL IS WRONG WITH YOU!? And my volcano erupted. Good to see I'm not alone…

  2. It might have been beneficial if Stephanie had started a new paragraph when she began the sentence, "When he learned she was cheating,…" That's the only way it makes sense.

  3. I don't know… I get the premise… with crises we are moved to action…. but the anonymity of the intro paragraph didn't really make sense. are we supposed to know these people? are we supposed to care?

  4. i think the confusion actually comes from the different time-settings (or just plain contradiction?) of the first sentence and the last sentence of the second paragraph. Did "she" just leave in anger "what she thought would be a lifetime," — or is that all flashback, is she happy right now, because her "apt is a mess"?

    if that made anything clearer.

    what's going on? i really like your blog, stephanie, but everything has been so cryptic in the past week or so…not as much fun to read…

  5. Glad to bloody hear it miss klein! I am the opposite though. I always have these dreams where I leave packing until the last minute/am forced to. Be it a fire or a holiday, I am never quite prepared. I am happiest when everything is in order, when I have time to make everything in order. My house is neat and I spent the whole weekend cooking, I loved it!

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