I’m not a regular flosser, although I’ve always wanted to be. Flossing my teeth is something I do on special occasions, like last February when Claire and I flew to Bulgaria for a weekend. It felt appropriate to start (and stop) flossing in a new country. Sometimes I floss when I make the decision to turn over a new leaf and become something. I celebrate this new person I am about to become by taking care of her teeth.
It’s really important that you understand how little I actually flossed. You need to know that it was never something that appeared on a shopping list. “Can I get you something from outside?” he would ask and I might say milk, coffee chicken for our cat, Daddy. And he would say “Write it down.” And sometimes I would, and sometimes he would forget anyway. What’s important is that in the almost two years that we shared shopping lists and brought things home, like toothpaste, soap and milk, not once did I ever ask for dental floss.
Two days before we broke up, we were lazying together at home when I got the urge to floss my teeth. I brought out the little plastic container into the living room, so I could be close to him.
“Shit,” I said, “I’m out of floss.” The little plastic container was empty and I threw it away without a second thought.
The next day, on what would be our last day together as a couple he came home from a supplies run and handed me a container of floss. My heart filled with love for him because he remembered something so forgettable. And then he left.
And I don’t understand. Two weeks before he left, while I was in Russia he sent me a message from the same small village on the Black Sea where he would end our relationship. “I am at our restaurant in Kiloys and everything reminds me of you.” And I don’t understand. Two days later while I was stuck in the immigration line at Ataturk airport I sent him a message- “I need coffee.” and he wrote back “I need you.” And I don’t understand. When I finally made it back from the airport he couldn’t stop kissing me at the bus stop. It was like I had been away for months rather than two weeks. He was so happy, so relieved to have me in his arms again. And I don’t understand.
When I offer up this evidence to him, he says he was faking it. And I don’t believe him. He says he was scared to acknowledge what he was feeling, that he wanted out, and I believe him a little.
“I know you love me,” I cried a week ago, my finger poking him in his chest “I live here, in your heart, you know this. You love me.”
“Love is not enough, “ he said. And I don’t understand.