(Of course this wasn't the case, and I had the proof in the people that I love: Jill whose couch I cried on; Cindy whose keys were tucked into my coat pocket just in case my own home became too barren to bare; Lauren who took me out for margaritas and listened with unerring patience to my moments of speech and long, empty silences; Mom who wrote postcards to my brother with instructions to tell her if I stopped going to work, stopped getting out of bed, so that she would know to come right away instead of waiting until the springtime.)
But when I think about that year, what I remember is sitting on the couch alone, glass of bourbon close to hand, interminable sleepless nights, and brightly colored soft woolen balls of yarn cascading across the metal and glass coffee table he'd left behind.
There were so many scarves to make! So many textures and colors and ribs and lengths! (Just scarves. Patterns, learning to read them, thinking about anything, of course, was too much, too exhausting to fathom.)
Eventually pretty much everyone I gave a damn about had a scarf and yet I still couldn't seem to stop making them. Midnight, two in the morning, 6 a.m., hours and hours of knitting.
I made so many damned scarves that I filled up bins and bags and boxes. I made so many scarves that I set up tables at craft fairs and offered them at bookstores. Neither endeavor was overly successful, though, and so for the last three years I've been using them as last-minutes gifts: for birthdays, for moves north, for no reason at all.
But I live in Manhattan, and our apartment is small, and I need the storage space for newer, fancier, more involved work.
A couple weeks ago I decided to bring them to work, to offer them for sale to my colleagues, my friends, my acquaintances. I didn't really expect them to go, and I imagined I would end up donating them to Housing Works along with my ongoing book-weeding project.
But today the last of them sold and will soon be boxed up and shipped off to an old friend from college days who will be redistributing them this Christmas.
I came home and set this last bag of scarves down, and was taken by surprise when I told Evan at first gleefully that they'd sold, only to find myself on the verge of tears.
They'll soon be gone in all their brightness and glory, in all their sad scared nights of insomnia and NyQuil and Maker's Mark. And of course this is not to say that all that drama (trauma?) is gone forever too, but it felt, standing there in the kitchen earlier this evening, as if a last entangling, suffocating, clinging tentacle has maybe retreated into its proper place in the past.
It's a really good feeling, and one that I hope decides to stick around for awhile.
And I have a confession to make: I spent the half-hour before dinner tonight looking through bags of yarn in my closet, in Evan's closet, on the dresser. I was looking for ideas for new stripes, bright and cheerful and warm and made in a place of contentment. (I know, crazy, right?)
They were really pretty, my bags and bins and piles of scarves, and a part of me feels a little naked without them. It's nice to think about interspersing my fancy beaded silk shawls with just a few of these wooly happy easy things.