I steal stuff. And I don’t mean in the conventional sense where my sticky fingers walk into a chic boutique to swipe expensive wares, nor do I steal from most people, meaning you don’t have to hide your valuables when I come to your house, or think twice when you ask me to hold your purse.
Those are not opportunities where I find it beneficial to take what’s not mine, or lift what I can’t afford. The type of stealing I do is emotionally charged, electrically panicked, and only occurs under extreme distress when either HE or I has decided that we will no longer be. When I say HE, I mean whomever was currently in my life at the current moment. Picture the final stage of a doomed relationship, where two people find themselves in that terrible place where they’re no longer together, but not “NOT” either. We all react differently and while I can’t say that every HIM in my life has had the same reaction at that particular moment, I can say that I have. In short, first I’ll cry and then I’ll ask the same questions repeatedly until finally arriving at the mutual place of regret and forgiveness. We’ll hug, we’ll kiss, and then I’ll gracefully exit, but not without leaving with something that was not originally mine. It won’t be something big, expensive or something that HE’S deeply attached to, because as much as I would “maybe” like to cause him a little pain, the real reason I steal is because I have a heart and not due to my lack of one.
For example, at the end of one relationship, I took a pair of socks. Why? This particular person wore really, heavy socks with Converse high-tops that I always found endearing, because we went to school in the sticks, where despite the winters dropping to temperatures that thermometers could no longer calculate, this person felt that investing in a pair of decent boots somehow undermined his punk rock pedigree. So away he’d go tromping in the snow with big socks and Chucks! Only later, before going out separate ways, I stole a pair of his socks and would end up keeping them for years. In fact, I’m positive they’re still in my childhood chest of drawers, as if that person is going to reappear someday asking for his socks.
Yet somehow, having something of his, a piece of him in the shape of an item he owned, or an item he wore made up for the fact that I didn’t have HIM. A link, a connection, an ownership in the shape of of object that I somehow found comfort in.
But I wasn’t always a sock bandit, sometimes I transform myself into a hooded robber. For instance, after a somewhat more recent relationship, I took an old, tattered hoodie with a broken zipper and a hole in the arm. It was the saddest sweatshirt that I ever saw, but this person loved wearing it around the house.
At the time we were living together you can imagine how deeply surrounded by temptation I was when it was time to move out. What can I take from here? All these options! All this stuff! But I allowed myself to take one thing of his to make me feel better as I disassembled our life together. To some it was just a sweatshirt, but to me it was a piece of this person that comforted me in the weeks ahead, as if I were a lost child being comforted by their favorite stuffed animal.
I’ve taken CDs of their favorite bands that we listened to on road trips…copies of their favorite books that we read late at night… and candle holders that we used for romantic dinners at home. They were things, stuff, objects that really shouldn’t have meant anything, but somehow their memories and ties still brought me comfort. If I have this, I have something that belongs to them. If I have this, I am somehow linked to them in the way that I am no longer.
So yes, I steal. I steal because I can’t walk away. I steal because I need a reminder that I existed with him and him with me. A reminder of what once was.