Crouching in the shower stall, my roommate tossed me the royal blue sweatshirt, the navy t-shirt, and the black athletic shorts I’d been holding onto since my ex-boyfriend told me he wanted his clothes back and I pretended to give him all the ones I had.
“Should we use gasoline?” Michelle asked with an eager grin.
“We should, but where the fuck would we get gasoline from right now?”
It was 2 o’clock on a Friday afternoon. The day after I drunkenly texted my ex asking if he wanted to “talk.” By mid-morning I was cursing myself for being so stupid, and by noon I was enraged that he didn’t even have the decency to respond. When Michelle came home from class, I was already past the sad phase and in full on bitch mode, listening to my favorite angry song playlist (my favorite is “All Men Are Pigs” by Studio Killers), deleting that fucker from every social media site ever invented. Why the hell was I still following him? A mix of lingering hope that he would one day want me back, satisfaction every time he watched my Snapchat story and I looked hot/was with a guy, and plain old curiosity as to how he was doing. We had cultivated a unique relationship in the short time we were together, and when he dumped me I lost my best friend as well.
The shirt in particular that I had been holding on to was soft, comfort colored and featured the letters of the fraternity that had so easily shut me out after one of their brothers did. These were the guys I had come to trust like big brothers. The guys who no longer cared about me as long as their brother didn’t. I was also burning my last connection to them.
Michelle towel dried the bottom of the shower so the shit would actually burn. I placed the articles of clothing in the middle and took a deep breath. You know your roommate is a keeper when she’s willing to possibly set off the fire sprinklers in order to help you feel empowered and obtain closure (it was largely her insisting that got me to actually go along with the clothes burning). I grabbed the two lighters from the toilet seat and handed her one. She had just decided to douse the pile of clothes with hairspray, which was probably a bad idea, but there was no going back. With a nod, we both sparked the Bics and ignited the shit.
Well, attempted to. The hairspray burned like a bonfire, but it didn’t permeate the clothes enough to catch them. It took a few tries, and I’m pretty sure the athletic shorts gave off carcinogens while they were smoldering, but finally, the blues of the clothes turned into brown, then black, then gray. It was a surprisingly controlled fire. I was pretty much prepared for some real life firefighter shit in case anything went down — I had my monogrammed water bottle filled and at the ready.
“We good?” Michelle asked as I turned my gaze away from the sad pile that was my ex-boyfriend’s belongings.
She turned on the shower to put the small flames out, and a horrible hissing sound came from the pile. We made sure it was out, and then left the bathroom to grab a beer. When the soggy shitpile was cool enough to pick up, we put it in a garbage bag and tossed it in the dumpster outside. That was the end of that.
Why was it so important to burn the clothes? I knew that if I simply threw them in the dumpster, I would be tempted to sneak out and rescue them before trash day, or I would think about what was happening to them if I left them for the trash collectors. Michelle knew that. She is my rock, and probably my biggest supporter when it comes to boy problems. Everyone needs a badass best friend, before any dumb boyfriend.
My advice: give the clothes back to the guy as soon as possible. If he wronged you past forgiveness, and you kept them, set them on fire in your moldy apartment bathtub, and then have a bottle of wine and some ice cream at the ready. You are allowed one day to be a whiny bitch about the guy, and then you need to realize that you are better than that quivering pussy and you are going to do so much more with your life than he ever will. Get yourself a real man. Or a dog..
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