There's something incredibly intimate about sharing a closet with someone you love. Having someone else's clothing hanging beside your own in your bedroom - where you sleep and get dressed and dream - makes it 'official'. You're not just giving them a drawer or a shelf for weekend sleep-overs. You're sharing your lives, your ups and downs, your fears and hopes. Seeing our clothes, our toothbrushes, our mementos intertwined together in our home always made me smile. I loved and I was loved. Call me old-fashioned but it was lovely.
The closet where I moved Chris' clothes after he died is empty now, except for his wedding suit. I've packed up the last of his things and they're piled up in four large green garbage bags by the door, ready to donate to charity.
His many variations of blue plaid short sleeved sports shirts; his many variations of long-sleeved dress shirts in every beautiful shade of blue from vibrant royal to dove grey-blue like his eyes; what seems like the entire Eddie Bauer men's collection from the past five years; soft, warm sweaters slightly worn at the elbows; the huge fuzzy terry-cloth bathrobe I gave him for Christmas several years ago (he gave me a matching one the same year); ties and belts... and shoes.
It was time to pack up his shoes. He won't be coming back. He won't need them any more. His feet won't get cold.
As I slowly go through things in the apartment and give them away or shred papers or throw them out, there's less and less of a 'couple' presence in our apartment. Despite the remaining books and CDs and photos and mementos and cooking gadgets that Chris brought into my life and into our apartment, his shirts no longer hang beside mine; his toothbrush no longer nuzzles against mine; his shoes no longer wait for walks beside mine; our clothes no longer mingle in the laundry basket together; the daily intimacy is gone... forever. Only the memories remain, and they are so happy and so sad.