Phil went to a conference last week and left me in the apartment unsupervised for 30 hours. It took about 30 minutes for my civility to unravel. The Hunger Games kicked off with a box of Velveeta and a dollop of disregard.
The cheesy shells meant to serve 4 heaped golden florescence on my plate, which was so heavy it strained my bicep. I carried it right past the kitchen table and into bed, where my laptop waited, radiating the Netflix screen paused on Season 3 of How I Met Your Mother. For the next day, I only left the bed for bathroom breaks and to get more food.
I was full after two servings and one episode, so I took an eating break roughly the length of Ted’s relationship with Stella. Then I wiped away some cheddar perspiration and returned to the challenge. The artificially colored food was cold and the cheese had dried, but I persevered.
Barney fell in love with Robin, Marshall and Lily fell into a bad investment, and I fell asleep with an almost finished plate of macaroni and cheese resting on my bulging belly.
The next morning looked about the same, except for the addition of sunshine trying to penetrate through the lowered blinds of my shame cave. I swapped out the day-old pasta for a bowl of cereal and tuned back in to see how Ted would deal with his latest heartache.
Dishes stacked, my pajamas stained with passing meals, the apartment grew increasingly stuffy, and I watched on.
Then Phil texted me that he was on his way home from the airport and shattered my sloth haze. I looked around the apartment and I looked at myself. I saw everything that I had made and, behold, it was not good.
I rubbed the pillow lines from my face and showered. I changed into a new pair of sweatpants (okay, still lazy pants, but at least these were clean). I carried all the dirty dishes piled around my bed to the kitchen and washed, dried, and put them away. I opened the doors and windows and turned on the fan, reintroducing my apartment and me to fresh air.
By the time Phil walked in, the only indication of what went on in the apartment without him was the lingering ass imprint on the sheets, the guilty glint in my eyes, and the subtle scent of self-reproach.
Some versions of me are for my eyes only.