I remember the night we cobbled dinner together out of all the things I needed to eat before I left Boston. 5 mangoes leftover from the box Fred impulsively bought at Haymarket. A cup of cereal leftover in the box. 2 packs of ramen. A box of mac n cheese. Leftover Rice a Roni in a tupperwear in the fridge. Fred gathered the mangoes in his arms and carried them like a baby in his arms.
“I got these,” he said.
“You’re going to be shitting yourself for weeks!” Jesse laughed.
“I know,” Fred replied. “It’s going to be epic.”
I finished the cereal in one handful to the mouth.
“What’s next?” I asked, still chewing.
“We can do the mac and cheese with water.” Jesse grabbed a pot out of a box, like magic, nothing ever appears that easy in an apartment full of boxes and trash bags. all soft sided things were thrown into hefty extra tuff garbage bags. everything else in brown cardboard pilfered from the market down the street. it makes sense that my last winter in boston was the coldest and our heat was broken for most of it. i remember throwing matches at the pilot light, willing to risk life and limb for working warmth. at first, leaving boston felt like admitting defeat, a failure of sorts. I had told myself that there was nothing left for me there.
I could have stayed. I would have eventually left Lawyers Weekly and gotten some other office job. I would have fallen in love with someone else, someone who wasn’t Fred. someone who wouldn’t insist on eating 5 mangoes in one sitting. someone whose pants i didn’t need to mend on the regular. I would have found an apartment with working heat and would have never let my constitution go soft like it did in sunny, warm LA. I don’t remember who ended up with all my winter gear, the grey wool men’s coat i found a thrift store, the only thing that ever fit me from a thrift store. the fleece gloves that you couldn’t hold shit with if you were wearing them. the duck boots from LL Bean. the flannel lined jeans. none of it came with me to LA and now I want them back just so i can smell them and remember what boston in the winter smelled like.