Since I left, I have been trying to come to terms with a smaller apartment by re-defining what I mean when I use the word “need.”
For example, my bookshelf. Do I need this many books? Most of which I’ve read? If I asked you that, you probably would say “no.” I mean, sure, the exact quality of the “no” would vary depending on who else was around, or how likely it was that I was using this as a rouse to make you get rid of your record collection. But still, in essence, you would probably agree that my books are a non-essential part of my life and I could find a better use for them than schlepping them into and out of wherever I happen to be living at the time. My Jonathan Safran Foers and Gabriel Garcia Marquezes, I mostly gave away anyway, as gestures of love to people who didn’t get it. The Jonathan Franzens that I mostly keep around as things to throw at people? Who has that much room for hate.
In the bedrooms of dark-haired men about town, I keep a collection of sweaters. Not important sweaters, admittedly. Cardigans, all. Things I threw on knowing I wouldn’t feel bad if I got drunk and left them somewhere, sweaters I’d never feel the need to call someone back about. The same can be said for socks, underthings. I am learning not to be needy. “Possessive” you used to say. To be of one’s possessions. A quality to be abandoned.