She left in a hurry, in tears, in disarray.
She left in a taxi, running back and forth with armfuls of belongings while the meter ticked on.
She left so quickly it was no surprise she left so many things behind.
He felt a small guilt, whenever he found something of hers.
A half dozen hairclips in the bathroom she used to keep her hair out of her face when she was putting on that green goo face mask.
Some makeup in a drawer she’d forgotten to check.
Her third favourite mug, the one that said “Cats are cool”, that was mid-cycle in the dishwasher.
A bag full of clothes she’d been planning to take to a charity shop.
A notebook that she’d bought, intending to write poetry in, but had fallen down behind a chest of drawers, unseen and unused.
He’d thought about gathering it all up, and offering to take it to her but Mhairi said “No, don’t call her, she won’t answer your call anyway.”
He still wanted to call her, to offer to take her things back to her as a way of saying sorry.
Mhairi shrugged. “If she wanted any of this stuff she would have contacted you by now.”
Mhairi didn’t appreciate these things as tiny displays in the Museum of Simon and Sylvie’s relationship. Mhairi saw them as junk left behind by Simon’s last girlfriend.
Mhairi scooped up Sylvie’s things up into bags and boxes as and when she found them. She bundled the bags up into a tidy pile by the front door.
Then the day came when she piled the bags on the footpath and put an ad in Gumtree. “Free stuff! Make up, clothes, random things. Collection from outside 24 Basset Road. I can’t hold anything back, first come first served. When everything is gone I will delete this ad.”
Simon watched through the window as people came and picked through the things that Sylvie left behind. He watched as strangers took the notebook, the clothes, the mug, the souvenir tin from Amsterdam.
At the end of the day, Mhairi threw what was left into the bin.