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The Things She Carried

Once a relationship is past the point of repair, once her Go Bag is packed for leaving, some things are better set down on paper than spoken aloud.

Josh Atlas, Donut Tub (Chocolate TV), 2011. Courtesy of the artist and Allegra LaViola Gallery.


I wish you wouldn’t talk on the phone during 60 Minutes, especially if the story is about disaster preparedness. No big deal, I guess, but I wanted to let you know that I took a few minutes during the commercial break to repack your Go Bag full of spiders.

I also put a few containers of peanut butter from the pantry in there, the sugary non-organic kind that we used to eat all the time before corn syrup started making you gassy.

There’s some bread, too. It’s not gluten-free, and it’s moldy, but you should be able to eat around the green bits if you pay any attention at all. I’m not holding my breath.

Your least favorite sweater—the itchy one that makes you break out in hives and somehow always smells like cigarettes even though you “quit”—is in there as well. It’s beneath the jeans that don’t fit, next to the ski hat that makes your face look tiny. Remember New Year’s in Vermont, Tiny?

There wasn’t room for underwear or toothpaste or your glasses, but the plastic jade plant your ex gave us is wrapped in your “You are here” T-shirt next to the chef’s knife you ruined.

The plastic jade plant your ex gave us is wrapped in your “You are here” T-shirt next to the chef’s knife you ruined.

Oh, and I forgot your face wash. But I did pack all the shards of my favorite mug that you dropped while we were fighting about Steven Tyler’s bias towards blonde American Idol contestants, which totally is a thing or that coyote-throated skank who ruined “Street Fighting Man” would have been out in the second round.

There’s also some water from the dog bowl soaked into the ratty sponge you never let me throw out. I wrapped that in the tinfoil you hoarded like a somewhat attractive raven.

I hope this helps you survive a disaster long enough to realize what a mistake you made, or we could meet in the living room for the ten o’clock news and not talk about it.


TMN Contributing Writer Graham T. Beck is figuring out what’s next. More by Graham T. Beck