4.8.16 | Caroline Hurwitz
My boyfriend knew he was losing me, which is why he sent me a box of books. It was a strategic move.
After experiencing a traumatic event, I had spent the previous year insulating myself from the world with books, and my boyfriend hoped he could reach me via the printed page. He hoped the stories would remind me of his taste and devotion. He thought if I were to read “A Confederacy of Dunces” and “The Dharma Bums,” the books that drew him back to literature, I might be drawn back to him.
His books were not to my taste anyway, but it wouldn’t have mattered if he had sent me books by Zadie Smith or Haruki Murakami, writers I loved. I was already gone, which shocked me, considering the abandon with which I had first come to him.
We had fallen for each other a year earlier when I was a junior in high school. He was from my Ohio town but attended college in Minnesota. When he was home over winter break of his freshman year, I went to a party in his parents’ basement. While everyone else drank and watched cartoons, he and I sneaked up to his childhood bedroom, which was covered with band posters, trinkets from abroad and scratchy wool sweaters.
We stayed up until 5 a.m., then said goodbye quickly. At Bob Evans later that morning, with my hair matted and eyeliner smudged, I told my friend Claire over a buttery biscuit that I was sure I would be seeing him again.