January 3, 2011
Custom User Avatar
More by this author
I wake up, and stretch my frail, wrinkled arms, almost knocking over the piles of plastic Tupperware next to my bed. Turning over onto my side, I lay in bed for a few extra minutes, waiting. For what, I don’t know. I’ve always felt like I’ve been waiting my whole life for something. When I was younger, I was waiting to get out of school and into the real world, for freedom and responsibility. Later, I was waiting for love, waiting to find the perfect girl. And then I found her! But, as quickly as I found her, she slipped through my fingers, leaving me as empty as the containers that are strewn across my house. That’s what I wait for, I suppose. I wait for Gloria to come back.

“Honey, I’m going to run over to the neighbor’s for a quick second!” she said from the doorway. “I have to run the leftovers over to Mrs. Fitzgerald across the street!”
“Well, isn’t that nice of you!” I replied, sitting in my leather chair, watching the nightly news on our brand-new T.V.
Gloria was always doing nice things like that. She worked at the nursing home, the soup kitchen, the library. She had such a kind heart. We sometimes joked and said that with all the work she did, she would make more money than me! Not that I don’t make enough.
Being the editor-in-chief of the local newspaper makes me one the highest paid people in our small town, aside from Rodger Cunningham. He’s the town’s judge, but I still don’t like him. He and I used to be best friends in high school, but when I got Gloria and he didn’t, he shut me out.
“A man was found dead today in his house on Main Street,” said the reporter on T.V. “His house was full of newspapers, making it almost impossible for the coroner to extract him.”
“Well, at least he died among the things he loved,” I said out loud, compensating for the silence without Gloria. She was so talkative, so gregarious. In high school, I had asked her out on a whim, not expecting her to say yes. She was the lead in the school play every year, whereas I was the nerdy staff reporter of the school newspaper.
The first time I saw her was in a play, actually, A Midsummer’s Night Dream. I had been assigned to write an article, despite not knowing anything about Shakespeare. She was Helena. I knew I was in love when she said “Love speaks not with the eyes, but with the mind…”
And winged Cupid did paint me blind. My grades plummeted because I spent all class staring at, or thinking about, Gloria. Unfortunately, she was dating Rodger Cunningham, who had played Lysander and was my best friend.
Finally, one day, they broke up. I hesitantly approached her after school the next day, quietly asking her if she would go see a movie with me.
The pause in between was probably the longest of my life.

She looked at me, puzzled, and slowly said, “Yes.”
Then, the rest was fate.
Looking at the clock, I noticed that it had been half an hour since Gloria came back. No worries, she sometimes loses track of the time. I drifted off into a nap.
When I awoke, I looked at the clock again.
“Midnight?” I exclaimed aloud. “Gloria, are you back yet?”
No reply.
Frantically, I called the neighbors, apologizing for the late time. None of them had seen her. Mrs. Fitzgerald even said that Gloria never stopped by. Running through the kitchen to check upstairs, something caught my eye.
The leftovers were sitting on the counter in Tupperware containers, cold.
She was gone.
She was gone and there was nothing I could do about it.
“Dean. C’mon. Get out of bed today. You can do it! There are things waiting for you outside. Good things.”
The optimistic side of me tries. I give it that. But, like the Tupperware containers that fill my house, I am empty. Empty of feeling, empty of thought, empty of life.
My liking (I guess you could call it an obsession) for Tupperware began the day my wife left me. The clean clear boxes seemed so appealing on the shelves of the grocery store. They stacked so well, and could hold so much. I told myself that now that Gloria was gone, I could take cooking classes, and fill these Tupperware containers with warm, comforting foods. This food would surely fill the emptiness.
The smells of the pot roasts I would learn to make would cover the lingering smell of perfume. The pop of chicken frying would take the place of Gloria talking. Heck, I might even learn to play guitar! Things were better without Gloria around, I decided. She was the one who was missing out.
But, when I got home, none of the above happened. I moped around, ate take-out, procrastinated about work, and watched that new T.V. that didn’t seem new anymore without Gloria. Most often, I went to the store to buy Tupperware.
The good thing about Tupperware, is that there is always new kinds to buy. There is always new special kind that guarantees that your food will never go bad. There is always a new salad holder, a new special container for fruit. Tupperware, unlike life, had things that were guaranteed, that were solid. That wouldn’t pick up and leave you at a moment’s notice.
Soon, it started to pile up. At first, I had one drawer dedicated to the clear plastic. Then, two, three, four, and finally all of the cabinets were full of Tupperware. It became hard to move around inside my house. I was fired from my job as editor because some days, I couldn’t even get out of my house.
Still, I think about Gloria all the time.
I know she’d never come back to me. But what if? What if she did come back? What would happen then? Would she apologize? Would she be appalled at the state I was living in, barely getting out of bed each morning? Would she leave again?
What if she had never left?
So, this is what my life has been reduced to. I lay in bed waiting. I wait for things to change. I wait for the emptiness to fill up again. I wait for Gloria to come back.

Join the Discussion

This article has 2 comments. Post your own now!

Alf17 said...
Jan. 28, 2011 at 5:01 pm
fruitman said...
Jan. 20, 2011 at 8:59 am
nice article.  you do a good job of painting a picture of someone whose broken heart has taken away his ability to think, or act rationally. 
Site Feedback