De-Vivify

The yield of two hours of cleaning.

With regards to general cleanliness I am one of the neatest people I know. My general area will stay tidy enough, although perhaps dusty and I might need to vacuum more often. My bad habit is that areas less often traveled, such as closets, or those places one does not linger, such as bathrooms, tend to escape my notice. They don’t get dirty as much as they linger on as anachronisms. How long will suntan lotion stay on the counter of my bathroom since the last time it was actively used? Three months appears to be the running average.

Tonight, as I was reading some of my classwork, I kept noticing stuff in my bedroom out of the corners of my eyes. A random stuffed frog here. A piece of paper I never wrote there. These were the neglected items of my breakup with Vivian, the forlorn reminders of a time already blissfully consigned to memory. The majority of the useful stuff had been removed immediately after the breakup. One of the very first things I was purge her essence from the kitchen since I spend a good bit of time there. The aftermath of that process all those months ago was relatively tidy, and looked exactly like this:

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What remained two months on was the detritus of life. Items with no immediate use, but perhaps with sentimental value to their owner. A purpose, merely not enough of one to facilitate their immediate removal.

Sadly I could take no more. Something within me gave way. This flotsam, this stuff, had to be removed immediately. Beginning at four in the morning I began the cleansing. Stuffed animals and books, old magazines, half-empty shampoo bottles and lone sanitary napkins; all was added to the mass that needed to be removed. The de-Vivification had begun.

I refused to make any judgment calls, knowing that if I started deciding for myself what would survive and what would perish I would surely make the wrong call on at least one item. Better that I save it all and let its master decide.

The sheer amount of material involved in this project was greater than I expected by an order of magnitude. The process itself flitted away two hours of my time. In the end every pair of slippers hiding under the couch, every pair of chopsticks perched atop a bookcase filled with fine literature, every riding crop tucked in the back of a drawer filled with socks that no longer fit, every discarded copy of Oprah magazine in a corner, every half-melted candle, every necklace in a band-aid box, every bottle of vitamins hidden behind twelve rolls of toilet paper, every bottle of perfume, every brass crab languishing atop a cabinet was stuffed into sacks and placed out of the way for the next time their possessor rolled by.

They are no longer my charge. I merely watch over them as they await their descent from the earthly paradise they currently occupy.

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From the bathroom alone came these treasures.

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The origins of these sacks are more varied, but no more interesting.

After all this effort what am I left with? A domicile that is finally and completely mine for the first time, and a keen understanding of just how much random shit a person can leave behind in an one bedroom apartment after merely a year.

Now I just have to get it all out of the closet.

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