I am trying to describe Why We Broke Up to a friend, to a notebook.
Why do you have this book? I bought this because it had been a long day, and the light yellowed the interior of the bookstore—and here was this book, this uneven red, and that plaintive title. I picked it up, and found comfort in its heft. I riffled through the pages, and words and colors blurred before me, and that harken-to-childhood smell of glossy paper lifted toward me.
And what was it about that red? It was paint smeared against paper using a wide brush, the white of the base coat gleaming under the right kind of light.
Why did you read this book? For the reasons above, and because I like to believe I was this young once. That once I could claim innocence, revel in the invincibility of my naïveté. That I once stole my mother’s jewelry box emptied of its pearls and 80s copper baubles, to store the invitation to a prom, a withering corsage, a crumpled note, a candle and the ribbon twined around it. Because I thought it would matter, and I needed a gallery of the tactile to remind me, at will, that I was in love.
But also. Four and a half years ago, I pressed a fistful of bougainvillea between the pages of a journal, only to realize later it was not the right love I should have catalogued. Four and a half years ago, I was asked if I wanted to stay, and my hand rested on the stairwell, the brass from the bangles I wear to this day clinking against the veneer wood.