You move out of your apartment, your duplex, or really anywhere you used to call home. You sit in an empty room that once was yours surrounded by straggling Victoria’s Secret tags and bobby pins kneading at the carpet that so desperately should be replaced and all you can fixate on is the negative space. Your bed used to be there, your dresser there, the twinkle lights you bought at Christmas to whimsically frame your window should be there. But there’s nothing. You say your own name out loud just to hear a sound and it echoes back at your face since there’s nothing to deafen the sound of your own voice.
You have a sponge, soap, a container of Lysol wipes, some Windex, and an hour to attempt to erase the last twelve months from these 750 square feet. As if sixty minutes of scrubbing can make every time you cried into a roll of toilet paper and your comforter nonexistent. As if covering up the traces of your perfume and sweat with bleach will make the times that you felt abandoned by your best-friends for others go away.
As if covering up the nail holes with tooth-paste will mean they were never in those 750 square feet with you.
So you pick up, pack up, and shape out and ship out. You pile all of your clothes, all of the things that they peeled off of you in the middle of the night, all of you that they touched into a truck and speed them, the memories and the things, away. You may move miles, you may move states, you may move blocks, but regardless you move away.
Some people tell you to stop trying to run away from your problems but honestly, those people have obviously never had something deserving of running away from. Those people don’t know what a doorframe can bring back, what a staircase can make you think about. Those people don’t know the effect that walls and a floor can have on your psyche. Sometimes all you can do is find a new place with high ceilings and exposed concrete to smother the memories of a face pushing into yours at four in the morning – especially when that face is never coming back.
Which is precisely why you leave.
You find a new place, a new space, a new 750 or so square feet to make your mark on. You sit in the middle of your new hardwood floors amongst all of your things so half-heartedly packed in bags and Tupperware and say, whether it is audibly or internally, that this will be different. That you will not find yourself getting lost in green eyes and nice smiles and you won’t let anyone who is undeserving of your attention see the inside of your front door. You make a mental promise to not let these square feet be tainted with memories that make you hate them. That this place won’t be haunted with your ghosts.
But you aren’t quite in the new place, aren’t quite in the new year that’s in front of you.
You’re sitting, standing, lingering in a kitchen where they once pushed you against the counters and whispered unbearable things into your ears just praying that the next ten minutes of scrubbing with that sad, sad, sponge from the dollar store will make every trace of them go away.
You leave the roses you dried out that summer hanging in the kitchen even though you head to turn in your keys. You can’t bear to throw them out, so you leave the dirty work to someone else. But before you lock the door behind you for the last time you snap a picture on your phone that even twelve, thirteen, an uncountable amount of months later, will make your heart ache. You remember how proud they were to present you with the flowers – even if they did forget about your allergies. So the dried up remains of those happy times in your now empty apartment make your heart ache.
The entire place, the very structure just makes you uneasy. So you leave. You turn your back and you climb into a Uhaul, and you drive X number of minutes, hours, miles away until that place is only accessible when you’re a little drunk and by yourself.
People tell you you’re running away from your problems, and maybe you are.
Or maybe you’re just putting a fair amount of distance in between yourself and something that makes you feel like someone you don’t recognize.
You don’t have to apologize for that. You don’t owe anyone any explanation.
So Lysol wipe that counter for the last time. Erase the fingerprints that once gripped onto the laminate after a bottle or three of wine when they turned you around and pressed into you. Spray bleach into the shower and make the memories of them rubbing soap all over you and getting dexterous when you least expected it run down the drain with the now watered down Clorox.
You aren’t running away from your problems. You’re leaving a portion of your life behind you that doesn’t exist anymore.
You can sit in that empty bedroom for as long as you want, run your hands over the carpet until your fingers start to chafe, speak poems or your name or theirs out loud to the empty walls until your voice starts to crack but it won’t change anything.
It won’t bring anyone back.
So run away. Run away from those 750 square feet.
And don’t look back.