I was standing in my aunt's kitchen, eyeballing the tray of Christmas cookies, trying to decide which to try next. In my hesitation I glanced over at her big red butterdish, sitting innocently on the countertop. As I stood admiring the dish, suddenly I was taken back to four months ago-- you and I were still together and I was genuinely concerned about the state of our dishware.
Last August I took a trip without you to see my family. I sat at my grandmother's dining table with my mother and aunt, discussing which Polish Pottery pattern I wanted to replace the butterdish in our apartment. My mind reeled. All the women in my family have their favorite pattern. This could be my first piece in perhaps a lifetime of overly ornate collectible serving pieces. We compared patterns for several minutes but I decided to wait and ask your opinion. After all, you were part Polish. It seemed like a really important decision at that time.
Little did I know that we'd only be together for another week.
After you left, I got rid of our old dishes with the horrible pastel pattern that I hated, including the matching butterdish. I quickly forgot I ever wanted to replace it. Within weeks, my life completely changed. I now rent a room in another apartment. I go out more. I rarely cook. If I even have any, I keep my butter in the fridge, inside the door, haphazardly folded up in its wax paper wrapper. The way I used to do it, before you came along.
Sometimes I think my life has taken a giant step backward.
Sometimes I miss our old apartment more than I miss you.
There, in my aunt's kitchen, alone once again, I'm reminded of all the dish patterns I once considered. Maybe I should buy myself that $40 Polish Pottery butterdish, anyway. Pack it away in a box somewhere. Just to have something to build my future around, some piece of the nest. Some souvenir for a home that hasn't happened yet.