A bobby pin, a fucking bobby pin. So small, so insignificant, overlooked and shoved into the corner of my bathroom where it escaped hundreds of cleanings. Hundreds of times I have gotten on my knees and scrubbed around the toilet and yet I managed to miss it every time until today. Why today?
Any other day I could have handled it, I would have simply tossed it into the trash with the used paper towels. Instead I sit here, cradling this bit of metal in my hand while the smell of bleach curls around me and the white tiles sit half scrubbed. It isn’t until I feel the wet drip off the end of my nose that I realize I am crying. I never cry, I never cried. I watched you slip away from me and not once did a tear escape my eyes. Yet here I am sobbing because I missed one of your bobby pins when I tried to erase you from my life two years ago.
You use to leave these fucking things everywhere. Scattered across the bathroom sink, in the bedroom carpet where I would vacuum them up, in the cup holders of our old hatchback. In the following weeks after you had gone I got rid of them all. Sold the car to some college kid, donated every scrap of your clothing to charity. I packed all your pictures away and sent them to your mom, I got rid of the sheets that held your smell, replaced the pillows. Sold the coffee table you stained with your wine that one night.
I threw everything that would remind me of you away, your shampoo, the soup you liked, your favorite mug. I heaped everything into the dumpster behind our apartment where it was taken away. I painted the walls beige, over the colors you had begged me for. I could no longer stand the yellows and teals you had so carefully picked out. I changed the air fresheners from tropical scents you loved to the smell of autumn and forests.
I stopped talking to our friends, they always loved you best anyways. I doubt they even noticed I had left. I stopped going to that natural grocery store, I moved to the big chain, even though they don’t carry the almond butter I like. I refused to do anything that would remind me of you. I refused to walk around the corner and be confronted with your memory.
I refused to mourn you, I could only be angry. How dare you? You chose to leave. You gave up, you let yourself slip away till I could no longer fight for you. Day by day I watched helpless as you withered away. Till every strand of your soft blonde hair was gone and all those bobby pins were useless. I told you were beautiful as you faded to a shadow of your former self. Held your bony fingers begging you to hold on, to not leave, to fight.
Still you whispered goodbye to me on that sunny afternoon. I watched the shadows play across your face as you shuddered out your final breath and the last piece of my heart shattered. The part that held all hope that my love would be enough to keep you here with me.
For two years this bobby pin has been waiting for me to find it, hiding where I thought I had erased all parts of you. As these tears that have been waiting for me to let them loose make their way down my face, I realize I wasn’t able to scrub my love for you off of my soul.