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People Can Be Criminals: Tupperware Thief photo

He stole my tupperware, the largest one in a glass Pyrex set. I say stole and not borrowed because he took it home with him in December and now we’re February. I haven’t seen him or my tupperware since I left for the airport, him sleeping in my bed. I texted him asking about it when I got back and he said he’d return it ASAP. I bought a replacement from the dollar store for soups and stews but I can barely stand to look at it. It’s tacky and plastic. The one he took is smooth, round glass and looks good on the counter, in the cupboard or fridge. It’s annoying because I’m not his aunt or cousin or something. We were lovers. Now he feels like my estranged teenage son. Ew. Cringe.

I know I have some cringe behaviors but who doesn’t? If we can’t see ourselves through others eyes in the light of our most awkward moments and be able to laugh then we may never know peace. Not everything has to be so serious all of the time. We can fuck up and forgive ourselves. He wouldn’t seem so “ew, cringe” to me if he had followed through on his word. Like, just drop it off, leave it at my door or whatever. He lives a ten minute walk away. He also has a car. I’m not tryna write a book about Tupperware but maybe I should. Don’t tempt me, Frodo. It’s symbolic of something deeper. Also, how can he even look at it in his kitchen? Is he so stoned or numb to reality that it doesn’t represent something left undone? I really can’t understand the psychology behind it. Maybe some people are just selfish and I refuse to allow myself to see it. I look for the invisible crown each of us are inherently born with. We all have halos, maybe not firmly installed but that can be summoned and reattached. I guess it’s delusional to think that even the kindest seeming people might care about finding and reattaching theirs. Not all of us are interested in standing in the light of our higher possibility.

Maybe it’s silly to be angry about it. It’s so hard for me to be, because I’d never want to hurt him. I left him in my bed, I gave him my key, I gave him my body. I opened my heart. Why would it be so hard for him to be like “here, I have something that’s yours, let me get it to you.” Make it right. Return it. Leave me with a hug. Stand up for yourself by owning your actions. I guess he wants to leave it open without seeming like he’s closing a chapter, but at a certain point it’s like wow, not even a friend would do me like that. We can all learn accountability.

Once, he answered his phone on my couch with a “Yo… facts. Aite, bet.” then the conversation was done. He somehow made plans with someone in that “say less” style. I’m voluble, I talk incessantly, even when I sleep. We snuggled up and watched a movie before he went skating with the “aite, bet” friend. He fell asleep on my lap while I tickled his arm and neck. Sometimes he squeezed my feet but I didn’t fall asleep. I used to love it when he napped at my house but now the memory bothers me, like… wtf bruh. I was so nice to him, he made himself totally at home. How could he be so inconsiderate? People can be criminals, taking liberties and stealing, not always objects but energy. What was his mission of pursuing me for so long, did he just want to experiment with me? It took me a while to fully open up to him and when I did things got really good for like five minutes. When he spoke to me, he had a kind authority in his cadence and tone but there was something missing. Past trauma can cause a type of brain damage, I guess. He’ll say things like “what will she cook, next, folks?” and I know he’s just being silly but really? Perhaps he’s unaware of the impact he had on me, that feelings develop. I guess he cared more about seeing if he could get me to like him and if I could help him be better in bed. I wasn’t sure at first if I’d actually want to be his girlfriend at some point, but why wouldn’t I? There were never any problems when we were together. What else is the point of it all? On some level we were becoming a team. I guess that’s scary for some people, especially if there’s no conversation about what’s happening. It’s mercurial.

I went out with a guy recently after meeting him at a party because he looked almost exactly like my Tupperware thief. I even said “wow, you look like the guy I was seeing who dipped out on me, should we kiss?” We laughed about it at first then ended up making out. He drove me home in his Lexus. I had a friend staying in my room so we slept on my couch together, fooled around in the shower. We laughed and kissed a lot, it was so much fun. I was like whoa it’s so weird how he looks like him but he’s not him. A more successful, wealthier version. A more accomplished, ambitious version. But still, not him. They had different arms and different smells. I thought I’d give the bootleg version a chance. Maybe it was time to try something new, go for someone who had a little more stability and perhaps a little more belief in himself. It was too soon to know, but why not try something the same, same but different?

There seems to be a trend of guys not wanting anything serious, having some kind of existential crisis they want to explore on their own before committing to anything resembling a relationship. I don’t know if this is a new thing or just a New York thing. I get it, girls can seem crazy in myriad ways. I’m not being judgmental, I am a girl. I’ve seen myself emotionally snap, or get needy. I had two back to back longer relationships. One of five years, then I took two years off. Then another that lasted two and a half years. Both times the guy was avoidant and I was anxious, even in the longer one when we decided to move in next door to each other. He worked all week and we wouldn’t really hang out but on weekends, when we’d open both our doors and it turned into one big apartment. Sometimes Sunday would spill into Monday when he’d be like “whoa, we’d better be careful, I need my weekdays back.” He’d pass by my window with his bike and I’d wave at him, sometimes he didn’t even wave back.

We’re still friends. Sometimes it kind of seems like he wants to get back together which I’d never do. I know how a switch can flip where we’ll always appreciate the person but never fuck with them like that again. Maybe that’s what happened to Tupperware guy, maybe something flipped and he just couldn’t see it happening anymore. Sometimes he’ll send me a fire emoji on a story or say “your hair looks soooo cute” but no plans are made. I’m forcing myself to look at the facts instead of acting on the sentimentality of my nostalgia, how warm our skin gets together, how strong his arms feel, how he’d giggle when I’d snuggle in really close and burrow my nose into his beard and cheek. He told me he wanted to put a baby in me, that I’d be such a good Mom. But he was never consistent and I’m certainly not his Mama.

He told me I always made him feel so strong and confident, that he didn’t question himself when he was with me. Maybe that’s why his speech took on that authoritative, confident tone. Once, he invited me over after not seeing each other for almost an entire month. It was so cozy as soon as I arrived that I decided not to bring anything up but my girl kept texting me “promise me you’ll say something to him, before you guys open the wine.” I was just going to let it slide then decided to address it at my friend’s prompting. I told him he was consistently inconsistent, and it hurt me, made my mind spin into overdrive creating a list of things I could have possibly done wrong. He cried (surprisingly) and said he didn’t even realize it had been that long, that he didn’t mean to be a shitty person, he was just trying to figure his life out. I wiped his cheeks with my hands and told him to lick the rest of his tears, they were medicine. That night he carried me from room to room and cradled me like a safe baby. I think that’s the night I became addicted to his arms. The next afternoon when I left to go home, he asked if he could sleep over at mine so I could help him wake up early the next morning. I was starting to feel even safer, we were building intimacy and trust which made the sex so much better, the kind where I’d cry sometimes because emotions were so heightened. The best feeling. Like an internal campfire. The warmth between us was real.

Why did he cry, tell me he loved me, then steal my Tupperware? Was he using me for my soup? I guess there can be no strategy or plan when it comes to emotions. I do forgive him for being scrambled, no one has an instruction booklet for these types of things. We were texting the other night, he said some funny, reassuring things about the stray cat that comes to my backyard and has a bobo above his eye. “Don’t worry, that kitty is made for these streets. He’s a tough one. You should see the other guy.” I wasn’t trying to be his mom, and I also couldn’t stand it when he spoke to me like a loving but distant father. Being kind and supportive then just falling off and not saying anything else. I told my therapist about our exchange and he was curious as to why I was even still talking to him. “Have you seen him since you’ve been back? If I were you, I wouldn’t even give him the time of day. Don’t even bother. You’re worth more than that.”