Trevor held the small, silver key in his large, bear-like hands. We stood in front of apartment A12 and he smiled at me as he unlocked our apartment for the very first time. We entered the living room, the whole apartment was barren, yet to be written by our eclectic style. Trevor picked me up by my waist, spun me around, kissed me and said, “We did it.” His eyes were glowing with the promise of his commitment to me.
The apartment was hot. Our landlord hadn’t turned the air conditioner on before we picked up the key. This, combined with the hot, July Sun, took the beauty away from this moment as we unpacked our heavy furniture from the U-Haul. The butterflies dancing in our stomachs were replaced with horrid sweat stains upon our shirts. The whole process of just bringing in the furniture took well over three hours and by the end of it, the tingly excitement we felt before was taken over by hunger pangs.
We collapsed on our apartment floor amongst the clutter of unorganized boxes and furniture.
“I’m starving,” I said.
“Five Guys?” Trevor asked.
“Five Guys,” I agreed.
We drove to Five Guys, thankful to be in air conditioning. The moment my cheeseburger entered my mouth, I began melting in delicious food Heaven. Working three hours in the Texas heat had stirred up appetites in the both of us. We ate in absolute silence as we savored each bite—our overworked bodies deserving of fast food.
We drove home fat and happy and entered our apartment for the second official time. It was around nine and we wanted to rest, but I couldn’t help but start unpacking things. The dishes my mom had bought us in celebration of moving in was first to be unpacked. I organized them in our cupboards like a game of Tetris. Seeing the kitchen put away neatly compared to the rest of the apartment was a nice glimpse into our future of living together.
We went to sleep shortly afterwards for the first time in our bed, our bodies intertwined with each other. We slept peacefully with this new beginning tucked in comfortably around us. The first of many nights.
As I unpacked those very same dishes for the second time in a new and less exciting apartment that was to be lived in by me, alone, this was the memory that haunted me. It wasn’t the memory of us going to the park and throwing water balloons at each other. It wasn’t the weekend we camped out at South Padre Island. It wasn’t the moments we wrote songs together—Trevor played guitar and I sang and played piano. On the day I moved out of apartment A12, it was the day we moved in that replayed in my mind like a previous night’s dream flickering back in broken pieces.
Before, I thought, he broke up with me while I was on vacation with my family. Before he broke up with me through an email. Before he broke up with me on my birthday.
“We did it,” he had said.
But we didn’t.