How do you put aside a relationship, tie it up with a bow in a pretty little box? Like a chocolate for safekeeping, hoping the ants or the mice don’t get to it while it’s sitting on your pantry shelf.
Is it possible to forget something that’s not entirely there but not entirely gone either?
Can you put someone on pause? Like the television. Paused with their mouth open and their hands waving in the air, describing this cool thing that they saw the other day. And if you come back, a year later, will you remember the first half of their sentence? Or will they have to repeat it, rewind, start the show from the first episode?
While it’s paused, what kind of static is in the air, floating there unseen but making your hair frizzier than normal? What kinds of radio waves are being broadcast, unheard, through the air? Can someone with a metal filling in their tooth pick up the bits of your relationship, listen to it through their curious appendage, comment on it to their friends over coffee one day?
What do they say?
What kinds of unspoken jealousies float through the air when you’re on the inside of the television, paused on the screen, watching someone live their life through a soundproof window? What if you’re the one on the couch with the remote, staring at a still, flat image; what kinds of ifs and ands are going through your mind?
Or how about that box, that pretty little box, that you’ve wrapped around your relationship, saving it like chocolate on your pantry shelf, what happens if you open it midyear? Has the chocolate melted in the heat of summer, or frozen in the cold of winter? Does it still taste the same? Is it better? Like melted chocolate, gooey on your fingertips, licking off the taste of sweet sugary cocoa. Or is it worse? That white powder of too-old candy bars, melted and reformed too many times.
And if it’s worse, can you ever make it better again? Can you melt it down, turn it into hot chocolate, put marshmallows on top and sip it in front of an open fire? Or are you doomed to eat it, hating the taste with every bite, until you drop the rest in your wastebasket to go out to the curb on trash day?
And does anyone, ever, have these answers for someone else?