Michael Hemmingson

I lived with her, in this apartment, for two and a half years. I have lived here, in this apartment, alone, for three years now. She did not take the cats. I said, "Whatever you do, do not take the cats." The cats are still here and they have forgotten her. When she left, the cats would sit at the window for hours, waiting for her to come home, waiting for her truck to pull into the driveway, that familiar sound. They would cry for her. For hours, they would cry for her. Then they forgot her. When I am gone for several days, or all day, they sit in the window and cry for me. When I open the door, they stare at me and cry. They are afraid I will abandon them like she abandoned them. She left most of her stuff here. I have, for three years, been trying to get rid of it all. I throw some of it away, and more appears: books, records, clothes, stuffed animals, board games, a blander, a George Foreman Grill, an earring and paper products and glue she used to create her book arts objects of poetry and drawings. She left her bed here; she left her couch here. I have had five different women sleep in this bed with me the past five years -- some were for one night, others for many nights. Of the latter, this woman found make-up kits under the sink in the bathroom. "Is this your ex's make-up?" she said. "I will not come here and see you again until you get rid of her crap," she said. She was jealous. I threw it out, immediately, but she would look around the apartment for evidence and say, "What is this? Is this hers, too?" I have not slept in the bed for more than a year now. Now, I sleep on the couch. I seldom go into the bedroom. The bedroom has become a space of storage, boxes, and bags, and boxes. The cats still sleep in there.