I only told one other person about my decision, a friend who had made plenty of her own mistakes and would not judge mine. She was on her way home, but told me to wake her up if I needed to crash on her couch. I assured her I wouldn't, and texted him. You still up?
Come pick me up?
I weaved my way to a street corner a discrete distance from the bar, and soon saw his green Honda Civic (formerly our green Honda Civic) slowing as it came toward me. I took a deep breath and climbed in. We kissed awkwardly. "Is this a terrible idea?" I asked.
"Maybe," he said.
We didn't talk much on the short drive back to his apartment (formerly our apartment; I had to stop thinking like this). Instead, I thought about how clean his car was. It made me sad. So this was what life was like without me—tidier. As we walked to the front door like we had countless nights before, I had the disorienting sense that the past ten months had been a dream. I pushed it away. In the living room, his penchant for sheepskins, Persian rugs, and Orthodox iconography had gotten out of control. The last time I'd been there, when I was moving out, I'd been struck by how easy it had been to divide our possessions. That weekend suddenly seemed like a lifetime ago. How had we never noticed that everything I owned was modern and everything he liked was antique? Had I really lived for five years with someone who decorated his apartment with animal skins?
But the thoughts didn't gain much ground. I reached for him, and we fell into the bedroom. He'd rearranged the furniture, but it was all still there: the bright Mexican prints we'd found in Oaxaca, the wrought-iron bed we'd picked out together at IKEA, the turquoise Ralph Lauren duvet cover I'd bought with his mother in a New Jersey outlet mall. I tried not to notice. I tried to concentrate on kissing him, but even that was weird: familiar, dull, mechanical. When he produced a nearly full box of condoms from his bedside table, I tried not to wonder who he'd bought them for, or how many he'd been through since our split. I tried not to be bothered by the atrocious length of his hair. I tried not to think about the phrase "marital bed." I was so busy trying to concentrate on the task at hand that it took me a minute to realize that he had lost all enthusiasm for it.