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You can tell a lot about someone by looking at their bathroom. Is it clean? Is it decorated? What’s in the medicine cabinet? What kind of hand soap is out for use? Do the towels match? And how many toothbrushes are in the holder?

One day, a few months ago in Ben’s old apartment, I slept over completely unprepared as usual. I woke the next morning feeling brave and asked him, “do you happen to have a spare toothbrush I can use?” His answer, shockingly, was “as a matter of fact, I do!” He then gave me a toothbrush. Jokingly, I said I would throw it out or take it with me when I left, but when that time came, I forgot.

The next time a sleepover came up, I asked Ben, “You don’t still have that toothbrush for me, do you? From last time?” Ben replied, “I do! It’s in the holder.” You can imagine my shock at this. I tried to contain it. I tried to not treat it like it was a big deal. But, inside, I was doing back-flips and screaming he kept my toothbrush! He knew I would need it again! He kept it in the holder!

This may not seem like such a big deal to you, dear readers, but understand that my last “boyfriend” used to say “if you’re leaving a toothbrush, you’re leaving too much.” He was so insistent on secrecy. Must not leave any trace that someone was here last night or comes here often! Jerk.

Anyway, Ben was obviously not like that. And there, in his bathroom, my designated toothbrush lived until he moved out of that apartment and I threw it away.

Now, cut to this week. Ben slept over two nights ago. He asked if he could stay under the necessity of going to the unemployment office first thing in the morning and how it’s easier to do that from my apartment than from his parents’ home. He came over Monday night at 11pm, we hung out, we had sex, we hung out, we had sex, and eventually, we went to sleep around 2AM. I woke up at 6:45AM. He could sleep until 9:30AM. All of this is neither here nor there.

Anyway, before we went to sleep, I asked him if he needed a toothbrush. “That would be great!” He said happily, “is it pink just the way I like them?” He brushed his teeth with his new [purple] toothbrush and put it in the holder in my bathroom. “I’ll take this with me when I go,” Ben said as he turned the light off and left the bathroom. “Whatever you want to do. It’s yours now,” I said with a smile.

I woke up this morning and when I went to go brush my teeth in the bathroom, the first thing that struck me is that there are still two toothbrushes in the holder. He didn’t take it with him. He forgot? Maybe. He left it here on purpose because he’s planning on needing it again? Possibly.

Ben’s plans for India have changed so many time, it’s hard to keep track. The good news is that through all this change and back and forthing, I’ve become rather numb to the idea that he’s actually leaving. I can talk about plane tickets and plans without wanting to jump out of my skin. His latest plan is that he’ll pick up his passport and visa on Thursday, go to “work” on Tuesday [check in at unemployment], then fly out Tuesday night. Ok. We’ll see. Until then, his toothbrush will stay right where he left it. When he leaves, I’ll throw it away and move on with my life.

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