Dear Inanimate Objects In My Apartment,

As you all have been completely unaware of, I fell in love, and she didn’t love me back. I spent four years trying to make the right kind of face for her only to realize she had been looking over my shoulder the whole time. Leaving her felt like disowning a vision of myself. But I did leave. And I went straight home to my parents and got in their RV and traveled around the country passing thousands of cows and people until I realized the world is a big place and I might as well try again. So, here I am—a smidge gin-besotted—trying.

Did you even notice that, Recycle Bin? No, you didn’t, just like you didn’t notice or care that you’ve been so overflowing with empty beer bottles for the last month that I’ve started lining them up around you. This could’ve made your neighbor, Galvanized Metal Trash Can, feel cramped or at least inadequate if it was filled with anything more sensitive than yesterday’s congealed beans. But, it’s not just you two. All of my inanimate “friends” are guilty of doing the same thing: nothing.

Websters II New College Dictionary, did it ever occur to you that I kept desperately trying to redefine love? Bag Of Frozen Peas, I know you heard me when I got off the phone with her, and shouted “I want to hang up and not give a shit about you! To forget you like frozen peas in the back of my freezer!” Extra-Long Body Pillow, don’t tell me you didn’t feel a little used and abused. Same with you Porcelain Shower Tile, but you did a great impersonation of her, remaining cold and unmoved even when kissed passionately.

Ceramic Coffee Mug That Some Lesbians In Santa Fe Sold Us Cheaply Because They Thought She And I Were A Cute Couple, how can you even stand yourself when you know you stood for nothing at all? Pair Of Seven Jeans, Various T-shirts and Toothbrush, every morning I woke up at her place, I found you all stacked neatly on top of each other by the door. Did you honestly think she was just organized, or did it occur to you that you were all a part of the great pyramid of how much she didn’t want me getting comfortable in her life?

Allow me to give you all a brief lesson in the human condition. Humans are about 70% water, and the rest is guts, bone and minerals. But, because we are highly evolved animals, we tend to think of ourselves as fat, dull, empty and stupid. We are such a successful species that there are currently 6,792,256,639 of us on the planet—all of us frightened of being alone. We cannot be left on a shelf to sit, like you Wide Slot Toaster. When I leave you way up high on a shelf and forget about you and reach up and dust all around you but never touch you (not even once!!) you still have a purpose: making toast. When this happens to a human, that person forgets their purpose and goes around letting all the wrong people touch them.

I’m sorry, I’m getting off track. If it isn’t plainly obvious, I’m jealous. Inanimate Objects, you never have to worry that you weren’t given the proper parts to make it through life. You were. They’re factory installed, and if not, they’re sold separately, possibly with free shipping. And, one of the greatest things about you is when someone decides they no longer want you and sets you on a curb, you could still be someone else’s treasure. Best of all, when your machinery stops, it just stops. Have you ever seen an old man who can’t tell you what a shoe is but his legs carry him aimlessly around his neighborhood searching for his childhood farmhouse?

I just reread this, and I’m getting the idea that this is probably one of those letters people advise you to write for yourself and never show anyone. Oh well, it’s been therapeutic. Of course, I know reprimanding you guys for the intolerable pain in my chest is even more idiotic than stubbing my toe on your cords and screaming “fuckface!” at your little switch noses and your red blinking eyes. It’s just that these days I feel like a grandmother’s old leather suitcase, so sad and heavy and filled with things that are no longer useful in the world.

I’ll get better. I guess all you inanimate thingies can really do is be there for me. Be there or be square. Be there and be square. Just be there, because the world’s platter of hope and despair can be a bit much, especially when you don’t know which one you’re reaching for. And, trust me, sometimes it’s just comforting to clock out and stare at the platter.

Stef Willen

P.S. Pine cones, my apologies for keeping you slightly off center on top of the TV for so long. Similar apologies to Cow Vertebrae, for making you into cool candlestick holders. Please understand, when people need a big break from love, they start doing all kinds of things for artistic reasons.