i took the chain of paper clips off my ankle and placed it with his toothbrush in the drawer filled with his underwear.
i took his picture off my desk at work. i no longer gaze at him as i sit at my computer. i put it in the bottom drawer along with the picture of the beautiful smiling baby who is his niece and godchild. I can't quite bring myself to take them home. i wouldn't know what to do with them. but they are off my desk.
i haven't removed his phone number from pride of place in my cell phone speed dial. not that it matters. he got that phone just for calling me and will probably get rid of it. maybe he already has. it is redundant. i, too, like in England when someone is laid off - i, too have been made redundant. as his kitten, his slave, his selkie, i have been made redundant. he doesn't need me. i am an unneeded part of his life. i complicate it. i make things more difficult. i am a distraction. he'll need something else to blame now for not finishing the dissertation.
but the big thing... the hardest thing... the action that would be like ripping out my heart even more than it already has been... i cannot remove his photo from my laptop. it would feel like erasing him from existence. it is such a sweet and cozy photo, spread across my screen. just the slightest trace of a smile on his lips, his beautiful thick hair so close in color and texture to mine, he sits engrossed in a magazine, a cozy afghan across his knees.... i was always snapping pictures, trying to capture him, that look, the atmosphere of him, the comfort of having him here in my house... so illusory, such a fantasy. but for those few days at a time it would feel like OUR house, it felt like he belonged here, even the cats knew he belonged here.
it doesn't really hurt me to see the photo. i think it would hurt me more to have it gone. maybe eventually i can do it... but not yet. he is part of me.
and our computers brought us together.
so not yet.
for now, he stays.