I remember standing in the make-up aisle at Meijer some midnight, fresh off of losing my previous unremarkable pair. I've always had a touch of trichotillomania, and the inability to tame my self-proclaimed wild eyebrows triggered some sort of fight-or-flight response, the panic raising in my chest. So there I stood, weighing my insufficient options in the dead of night because for how little I have ever been able to control in my life, I could at least make sure I had impeccable eyebrows.
I wanted Tweezermans, but you can't just pick those up at any old 24-hour super center. So I went with the pair that looked the most similar, stainless steel powder-coated black, from Revlon.
They were the worst tweezers I've ever owned, so much more likely to gouge my delicate eye area than actually pluck a hair, and yet I held on to them for the better part of a decade, as back-up for the inevitable time where I misplaced my better pairs.
Now, they're gone.
I figured as much would happen -- keeping them upstairs, in the kids' bathroom, meant they were fair game. The coating had long since begun to flake off, and any semblance of a sharp edge had long been dulled. I had ceded them to general use years ago.
Yet I keep reaching for them, right before I get in the shower, where the light is better on the whole than in my bathroom and I can see all of the microscopic downy protrusions that escaped my purview in other spaces.
It is the thing I am catching myself doing despite knowing better, the simple habit I haven't yet broken.
It is the reminder of the loss that is happening, here.
Other things were easier -- rearrange the shoes, take up the extra coat hook, put away all the laundry that usually piles up into empty drawers, buy more hangers and use that closet, too. And there have been the littlest of joys, like putting the fleece blanket on the bed and both duvets into the cover (something I've always wanted to do, but never could before) because I don't need permission, and how I've rearranged the bedroom means the cool night breeze actually hits me while I sleep, without another body to absorb or block it.
In most ways, it feels like the first time I've been able to breathe in longer than I realized, the first taste of that being in California at BlogHer.
But when I reach for those tweezers, in the now mostly-empty cabinet, the air catches in my chest, barely creeping its way out of my lungs in a way that makes it hard to stand upright.
We have lived together for eight years, in this house for seven of them.
Except now, we don't.