written on March 3, 2020 /
In the breakup, he took the Eames chair, the Casablanca poster, and the sourdough starter. Milo was a good person, I swear. He just didn’t understand that the starter was ours to share, that the jar I left on the counter was intended for him to use to split the dough for the two of us, and that our relationship had come to a stopping point last month.
I came home from work three weeks ago to find Milo sitting on the couch with his face inches from his iPad screen. The cat, gracefully walking underneath his legs to meet me at the door, yelled loudly to notify me that he hadn’t eaten dinner yet just in case we forgot. “What are you working on?”
“Wright Brother’s Coffee poster,” he replied, his eyes glued to the bright oranges and blues on the screen. He used to sketch things out at his drafting desk first. There would be piles of recycled paper covered in red pencil ideas and sticky notes loosely attached to the wall. Now, the table was a home to four dirty coffee mugs, six design books, and a stack of opened envelopes from PNCA reminding him to pay off his student loans for the month, which he never missed. His work was now completely produced on his iPad or his laptop, a “convenient transition,” he would say.
I fed the cat and took off my shoes. I melted into the Eames chair by the window, watching our neighbor unload groceries from their car. “Chloe and Adam are going to a movie later and they asked if we wanted to join. Do you want to go?” He stopped drawing and looked over to me.
“I would, but I have to finish this tonight. They need to be printed in the morning,” he said. He put his iPad on the coffee table and picked up the empty mug to put it in the sink. “We should all go out on Friday though. I read about this new bar downtown that I think you would love.” Our neighbor had unpacked four bags of groceries and I was starting to assume they were having a party later.
“I can’t Friday. I’m going to that show with Mel for her birthday, remember?” He sighed and sat down on the couch. It was becoming more apparent that these living room meetings had become our substitute for date nights. I was starting to come to terms with the idea that we were becoming roommates instead of partners.
Over the next couple weeks, we would have the same conversation, attempting to schedule in time together and failing to commit to any plans that involved leaving the house. Milo took on more design jobs and I spent more time at the dog park with Mel, debriefing feelings of unfulfillment and beginning to understand what the natural next step needed to be. One night, after the cat was fed, I told Milo that I needed to move out, that we weren’t working together as a team anymore. He offered to be the one to move, noting that he no longer had a reason to stay in Eugene so it made more sense for him to leave. We agreed that I would stay. We decided who would take the couch (me), the coffee table (Milo), and the Casablanca poster (Milo).
When I got home, the cat jumped down from the couch to let me know that he was hungry. On the counter sat the jar I left out before I left, sans sourdough. A yellow sticky note was pressed against the back and I turned it around to read. The all caps, red colored pencil print said: TOO MESSY TO SPLIT. I’LL SEND U SOME L8R. LOVE U. -M