my boyfriend, the minimalist


He threw away all his birthday cards. I remember when he told me that. We were sitting in his room, which was absolutely pristine. He had only a small desk and a twin Ikea bed that used fall in when we tried to have sex on it. We'd always have to switch to the floor after a few minutes (and he would insist on laying his sleeping bag under us before we continued).

I remember looking around, simultaneously impressed and disgusted by his minimalism. He had a closet full of black clothes (only black clothes) and he had three books, which were stacked neatly on the top shelf  - two were about minimalism, one was a first edition manga of Sword Art Online.

Brandon intrigued me. Maybe it was because of his age (he was 26, I was 19), maybe it was because of the way he got sad late at night, maybe it was because my mom had died six months prior - I wasn't exactly sure. But I knew that when I was with him, I was happier. Having someone to love made me so much happier. 

But moments like this made me have to think about the why. Why do I like Brandon so much? I'm a memory hoarder, and a sentimental one at that. If I have the smallest memory attached to an object - whether it's a handmade mug I received at a fundraiser or a note my friend scribbled to me in 10th grade, it's somewhere in my apartment. And birthday cards? I had every birthday card I'd been given since kindergarten sitting in my bedside drawer back at home. 

"I don't know how you do it," I said. "I'm basically a hoarder. I think I've kept almost all the ones anyone's ever given me."

"Well, I just read them and throw them away. There's no point in them taking up more physical or mental space if I've already read them."

And in that moment I think I saw the entire trajectory of my relationship with Brandon. I saw me falling harder and harder, despite knowing he would move away. I foresaw his resentment, his condescension, his ghosting - I think I saw it all happening because Brandon was callous in a way I couldn't be. Brandon let people go, let memories go, in a way I could not do. And I remember seeing all this in that moment, and digging my toes in his clean, beige carpet like a child.

"Yeah," I said. "I can see what you mean."

Richmond, VA. Amita Rao is a mostly comedic writer who gets sad sometimes and writes about her exes. She wants everyone to know that despite her baggage, she's super fun at parties!