They're sitting in my suitcase, stained with hot sauce and soiled with sweat. I know they'll go in the next load of laundry, but after that their fate is uncertain. They could go back in the dresser drawer that has been their home since last September. Or I could put them in a UPS box and ship them back to their original owner. Technically, they belong to him.
"Do you have a pair of sweats I can sleep in?"
He rummaged through his closet and handed me his favorite pair. I slept in the soft gray cotton, then wore them home the next morning. Day after day I wore them until my scent replaced his and finally Tide erased both of us.
"What are you wearing?" he would ask periodically.
"When am I going to get those back?"
I'm not so sure about that anymore. I kept them as a reminder, and now I don't want to remember. Memories are the reason I put the past aside and decided to try again. A conversation here, a text message there. Little by little we started to act like us again. And us feels so good, until we get to the part of us that doesn't work. The part where I need him and he lets me down.
Disappointment reared its ugly head again. My first instinct is to pack up his shit and send it to him. No note needed for him to get the message loud and clear. "I'm done!" But I haven't followed through. Instead I'm sitting on my bed weighing my options while this song fucks with my head. "Part of me says to think it through, part of me says I'm over you, part of me wants to say goodbye..."It plays over and over in mind on a continuous loop. Giving back the sweats means I'm giving up on us. He won't give me what I need, so I should just let him go. Find someone else to meet my needs. That's common sense. The problem is, I don't want someone else, I want him to do it. Making a return would say, "don't bother." Why do it, if I don't mean it.
Skeletons fill my closet. This man's t-shirt, that man's pants, another's hat. I could dress myself from head to toe in their remnants and not even think about it. But his remains, they don't just go on me, they get in me. Sleeping in his sweats is like sleeping near him. I can almost feel his arms and the rise and fall of his chest when he breathes. It doesn't help me move on. But I doubt giving them back will help either. And when it's all said and done, I don't want to move on. I want us to work. Until that happens, the sweatpants are mine.