I went to get a shopping bag from the stack tucked away on my closet shelf. In between the Iceland Nordic gift shop bag and the reusable bag from the Antarctica center in NZ, there was a Bloomingdale’s bag—basic and brown—I pulled it out, it was just what I was looking for. I opened it. At the bottom, a piece of white paper. I think, a receipt? I wonder what was it for? What did I tote proudly home in this bag?
The receipt totaled $117. It was for 2 Inc International items. Other than the brand, I have no idea whether it was a sweater, shirt or socks. The only thing I could discern was that on 9/28/03, I was at the Bloomingdale’s on North Michigan Ave in Chicago and paid $117 for 2 random pieces of clothing that I have no recollection of buying—sans receipt.
I look closer at the date on the receipt—it was 2003. With each year I get more confused, was it 2003 or 2004? What year did we break up? I look again at the date — at the top, it reads: 9/28/2003. Beside it, the store name —North Michigan. I wonder, what was I doing in Chicago in September of 2003?
A few seconds pass and then it comes back to me. Yep, it was 2003. I was in Chicago with you for a playoff game at Wrigley Field. We had gone to Bloomingdale’s the Sunday after the Saturday cubs afternoon game—before we headed in separate directions—you to Nashville, me back to Ann Arbor.
I don’t remember if the Cubs won or lost or who they played, but I do remember that in a separate Bloomingdale’s transaction, you bought me a khaki Kate Spade purse, which I finally tossed out several years ago when I decided I could no longer carry that weight around with me for another move.
I held the receipt in my hand as if I was holding the hand of a ghost who rarely haunted me anymore. I put the receipt down and placed it on the kitchen counter. I tell myself I should just throw it away, yet I can’t bring myself to do it. It just sits there—a remnant of a previous life that I had so carefully and artfully tucked away so deep in the recess of my mind that I was sure it would never resurface. But there it was—a receipt—staring back at me—front and center—reminding me of the hope I had for a life so different from what it has turned out to be.
The math gets harder through the years—has it been 15 or 16 years since we said goodbye? I don’t always remember anymore. So much has happened over the years—reality shattering old dreams, then discovering new one’s—it’s hard to know when or where we happened. But today, for a brief moment in time I had a receipt to remind me that once upon a time there was a you and me.
I write this all for no special reason, except I’m afraid I won’t sleep until I put these thoughts down and send it your way. I don’t think about you much any more, so when I do it’s a matter of conscience and will power to not reach out. Tonight feels different though. Tonight I feel as if I must send this to you.
Yes, I’ll probably regret it sending this as soon as I hit the send. At the same time, I know that I don’t care. I don’t expect a response. I don’t want one.
The way I see it, life is as it’s supposed to be. It’s just that sometimes a ghost from the past breezes in to remind us that they’re still there.