I don't want to share my closet. Is that selfish? I had never really thought about it when I first moved in with my ex-husband. I was so taken by the idea of "moving in" with someone, that I gladly interspersed my sweaters with his, used every other drawer, put my t-shirts on one of his bookshelves. I used my shoes as book ends and crammed my toothbrush into his toothbrush holder. I was all set. I was so excited to get my first drawer that I could care less if it had enough room. You have never seen a drawer packed so tight as was my first drawer at his house.
When we were married, we were lucky enough to have his and hers closets. I had enough room to get dressed in mine. On rainy days I would go in there and play dress up if I wanted to. I would try on dresses I had bought but never really had the chance to wear. Sometimes I would sit in there and look over old camp pictures I had stored in a shoebox.
Then came my divorce. I downsized apartments, and this time the master only had one closet. It was a nice size -- I'll give you that. But there was only one. For me. Over time I would stare at it and wonder how on earth a couple could share this one closet. In addition to my closet I have not one, but two dressers in my bedroom, and I could still use more space.
One day I was sitting with my (then) boyfriend in my living room. He would stay over periodically when my son was at his dad's house. He offered up the idea that he could possibly have a little piece of his own real estate in my apartment.
"Maybe a drawer? So when I stay here I don't have to go home first?"
I think my heart stopped for a second. Not in a good way.
I realize this is when the "drawer" celebration was supposed to begin. Possibly a telephone chain.
"Hi Kate? He wants a drawer!"
"A drawer? That's great! Congratulations!"
"Hi, Sue, it's Kate! Did you hear? Yes! He wants a drawer!"
"A drawer? Really? Wow! So exciting."
There may or may not be a parade that was supposed to ensue. Possibly a conga line of some kind, picking up neighbors and family members as we danced through the halls. I am pretty sure I was supposed to set my Facebook status to "He asked for a drawer!" Twenty people would comment with a mix of congratulations and witticisms and at least seven people would "like" it. But I wanted none of that.
Like a selfish, cold-hearted bitch, it flew right out of my mouth. "I don't really have a drawer to give you."
"But you have two dressers and a walk-in closet."
"Yes... but... it's taken?" I watched his face fall, looking for reassurance of some kind. But I had none to give.
That is when I realized: I am pretty damn comfortable not having a roommate. I realize a love interest is not a roommate. I do. But it is yet another person in the house. The idea of "giving a drawer" to a significant other, which may have at one point sent my heart a flutter just seemed... well... downright annoying. I realize this sounds callous, and maybe it is.
"Um... let's see... hmmmm... maybe there is a shelf in the linen closet... or... I know... maybe... no, that won't work... (faux sigh)." I sized up my apartment trying to find an extra closet or drawer, maybe there was some room in the freezer? Maybe he could fit into my stuff and didn't need stuff of his own? No. That couldn't possibly work. I didn't want him to stretch it.
I didn't know what to do about his "stuff," but what I did know is that I didn't want him to move-in, in any way, shape or form. Had I become a bachelor? Was it that somewhere deep inside I knew my boyfriend wasn't the one? Or had become so entirely self-sufficient and comfortable with my life as it was? My son and I had our own special space and our time was ours. Our space was ours. Something to think about. For now, my closet is all mine. Let's just say I am more than okay with that.
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