Leaving, and this is what I have in the suitcase:

Fourteen pictures, one for every month I have been here. Pictures of the ocean, pictures of the brownstones, pictures of us. I thought I had all but lost them. They've been tossed around so many times; thrown under the bed and in desk drawers and in bill piles, and then scooped up and cared for lovingly to make up for all the abuse. But all the love in the world cannot fix a photographs tattered edges and watermarks.

A favorite sweater. Hers. Left behind for me to find, the last thing hanging in the closet. The room was empty save for one hanger. I could not leave it lonely. Do I leave a favorite shirt of my own, a tattered old flannel with missing buttons, along with it or do I take it? Oh, I will miss this smell forever and regret this if it does not come along. Take it off of the hanger and hold it close. Breathe, deeply, and inhale the smell of the figure that used to fill this fabric. Relax. This is something I have to do.

A notebook. Mine. Filled with pages of poems and inspired lines and all the words I wish I could have said out loud. These things do not sound as good outside of my head. A deep red cover, drawn on with circles and lines and basic sketches. Almost embarrassing but I have to recall, I do not lift pencils for art, but for words. Here is a page torn out and left hidden beneath the bathroom sink: We were here; this house will not forget us. In her handwriting.

A book she bought from the week we spent in Mexico. Written in Spanish; I can’t even read it. The two of hearts from a deck of Jack Daniel’s playing cards to mark her page. She never finished it; I will never start it.

Memories, and though those are not in the suitcase, they are coming with me anyway. A look around—that wall is where she smashed her thumb hanging up picture frames. That corner is where I put the entertainment center that I built from scratch (and oh I worked so hard). That room with only a throw carpet left on the floor—the same one that was here when we came, that we rolled up and put in storage, so hideous—that was were our bed was. The living room, unfurnished; here is where we came alive, where we were all sorts of wonderful. And the kitchen: where we came undone.

The larger things that used to fill this house are gone now. Sold at a rummage sale, priced out at an appropriate value and forgotten about. The new owners will have much more use for them than what we will now. The smaller things went too, a dollar for those candlesticks, fifty cents for that tablecloth.

If you bargain hard enough I will sell all of this away—the pictures, the book, me. I will sell you all of me; complete. Starting price, ten dollars. But you're going to have to realize that Kate, who was never much for rummage sales, is a natural auctioneer. Eleven, do I hear eleven; Twelve. You are going to have to outbid her first.

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