It started out as a simple enough task. For nearly a month, she had been throwing all of her clothes on the closet floor. Clean, dirty, it made no difference. And on Saturday, after a couple of movies and a lot of procrastination, she grabbed an oversized trash bag determined to empty out all the clutter. The closet was full of clothes that had fit her at one time or another, and she had kept them around with the empty hope that one day soon they would fit again. Now, she realized that they had occupied too much space, keeping her in a never-ending rut, always looking back. Enough. She wanted a fresh new start.
Once she started cleaning, it was easy to do. She kept stuffing the trash bag with all the things that she didn’t want or need, and the feeling of exhilaration and relief was so overwhelming that she ended with three bags full. By the time she loaded them in her car, it was seven at night. If she hurried, she could drop it off at the Goodwill and the faster the better, so as not to reconsider. She went inside to get her keys, and a cursory glance at her closet revealed two jeans, five shirts, a light jacket and three sundresses. She had pared down her shoe collection to one pair of sandals, her blue suede slip on moccasins and the flip-flops on her feet.
What happened next, would be hard to explain to her family and friends.
She grabbed an old weekend bag, and went to her bathroom. Besides the basic toiletries, she took one towel, and her favorite perfume. Methodically, she took off her wristwatch, earrings and wedding band. Then, she took a long hard look in the mirror and slowly removed the only piece of jewelry she had ever been attached to. It was a gold medallion of the virgin child, given to her on the day of her first communion, with her name engraved on the back. She placed it on top of the little mound of gold, and stared at it for a moment.
Then she went to the closet and finished the job. She neatly folded her newly streamlined wardrobe, placing each item inside the tote. The only thing missing was her passport, which she found when going through her underwear drawer. She only took her most utilitarian and comfortable bras and panties, and two pajamas. Once she was certain she had everything she needed, she reached for the door. She turned around and looked at what had been her home one last time, knowing that once she closed this door behind her, there was no turning back, no do-overs, no couple’s therapy. Nothing.
She got in her car and drove away, headed towards I-95. Hours later, when she felt like listening to the radio, she noticed her cell phone inside the cup holder. It was an invisible umbilical cord that would choke her if she didn’t cut it. She considered the fact it could also save her life in an emergency. As she opened the window, she caught a glimpse of her eyes in the rearview mirror and without hesitation, threw the phone away.