Home No. 5

Hi, I'm Jami Attenberg. I write books, and much, much more. My fourth book, The Middlesteins, came out in 2012. You can order it here or here. My fifth book, Saint Mazie, will be published in June 2015.

Also I like dogs and fighting crime.

This is the fifth place to find me on the internet. Please don't tell me I need a sixth.

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Years ago I was friends with a woman I was very close with but then we fell apart over a man, which is pretty much the absolute worst reason a friendship between two women can end. I was the one who fucked up in this scenario, but I plead temporary insanity. It was not something I had ever done before or would ever do again. I was just all messed up in the head, post-breakup, feeling isolated in a different town. Sometimes people fuck up.

But also it takes two to tango, and she went on to have a relationship with the man for years even though he was obviously the most terrible person on the planet and hit on anything that moved all the time, including girls who are all messed up in the head. (Seriously, he’s a disgusting human being. Oh, the stories.)  Whatever, none of my business. I think she should have ditched the both of us, not just the one of us (or, alternately, neither of us), but her priorities are not the same as mine, that is clear. So: I fucked up, she didn’t want to forgive me, end scene.

Anyway, a few weeks before I would engage in the act that would ultimately lead to the downfall of our relationship, she gave me this Kate Spade bag. It is not like anything I would own. It is a clutch, long and black and narrow and it has a zipper along its entirety. The interior is shiny and pink and patterned and silky.  It is like a bag you would take to the opera. I think she might have even said when she handed it to me, “For when you go to the opera.”

I thought it was a lovely gesture at the time although I have never once used that purse, and not just because I never go to the opera. It has sat, pristine, in my closet, for years and years. It is so pretty I could never bring myself to throw it away. But also I could never bring myself to take it out in public. So there it sat, taking up space, and also being a metaphor so obvious I am ashamed of myself for even letting it exist as such. And of course every time I looked at it I thought - even if it was subconsciously - about what happened. I fucked up, I fucked up, I fucked up.

Part of me even felt that the bag was cursed, or at least that she had cursed me somehow. She is sort of witchy in her way, but so am I, I guess, when I remember to be. So now I’m throwing a lot of crap away in my apartment today, and that purse, pretty as it is, has got to go. I’m going to be obvious here yet again: I am removing this curse from myself. It’s going to go sit in a landfill somewhere where I never have to look at it again. I hope a rat chews its way through it all the way to the other side and then, when finished, takes an operatic little dump in it.

Oh my god, when did I even really ever care about purses that much? Why did I hold onto it for so long? Because sometimes it feels good to feel bad. Sometimes we swim in guilt like a river and we think it’s cooling us off but really it’s drowning us. Because I don’t know why.

The worst part of this story is that I held onto it for so long. The best part of this story is I never have to tell it again.

  1. alohi-lani reblogged this from jamiatt
  2. housingworksbookstore said: Donate it to Housing Works!
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