There’s an entire museum in Croatia dedicated to break-ups. It’s called The Museum of Broken Relationships and items on display include an axe, a garden gnome and a prosthetic leg.
While ours might not be as grand, we thought we’d share some mementos that we’ve kept from relationships past.
Dana Piccoli: Saying “hair” would be weird right? Not hair. But for real, I have kept a handful of pictures and letters from most of my relationships. Kind of locked away in a box that I never look at but take a small comfort in knowing it’s there. I carried a small square picture of myself and my first girlfriend in my wallet for years after we broke up. I just couldn’t bear to part with it for some reason. I think it just made me remember where I came from.
Grace Chu: I throw away almost everything, unless I look good in a photo. I keep those.
Chloe: Hoodies. I don’t even really wear hoodies (they overpower my delicate frame) but the girls I date are total hoodie lesbos. An entire row of ex-bish hoodies hang plaintively in my closet. I can’t bring myself to give them away, even the pieces filled by sad or just stupid recollections. In that sense (and others), I resemble a serial killer collecting victim souvenirs. Ho hum.
Kim Hoffman: I burned a lot of letters and photos (and even some art an ex had drawn of me) (it wasn’t that great) during a fall equinox once because I’m a weirdo witch, but it was really rainy so only 75% of that was accomplished and the rest went into the trash. It was all kinds of cathartic feeling, even though I was emotionally removed from those relationships. You know? It wasn’t like I was outside in the rain, like, “DAMMIT, fuck you!” It was just this thing I did. I do have some things saved though: because one ex gave me hand-me-downs that are too cool to toss, like tanks cut from T-shirts with the right amount of side boob possibility, (though I regret trading her my black high top Chuck Taylors for her low tops)—man, I actually had a conversation with her for the first time in three years last week about this very topic! I was trying to find a misplaced sweatshirt that has all this nostalgic meaning, and she was like, “I don’t have it, but I promise to send you anything of yours I come across in the future.” That should be a breakup creed. I had to immediately pour myself a whiskey, though I still don’t know where that sweatshirt is.
Valerie Anne: I worked at Barnes & Noble when I met the first girl I fell in love with and I still have my ID holder that is stuffed with various mementos from the job, including but not limited to the little piece of receipt paper on which she wrote her phone number for me the first time. (We weren’t allowed to have our cell phones on the floor.) It’s funny, I kept it because it used to make my heart flutter happily when I looked at it, but now on the rare occasions I do come across it (usually when I’m moving and packing all my random accumulated crap) it just makes my heart heavy. I keep it because even though it was the most my heart was ever broken, it was also the happiest my heart has ever been, and both played a huge part in making me who I am today. I don’t want to forget any of it.
Heather Hogan: I briefly dated a girl one time who had this weirdly vehement hatred of Harry Potter, a thing I should have asked about on the first date but didn’t because I just generally assume that people aren’t awful. So one day I’m at her apartment and I see that she’s got an unread first edition of Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone (the UK version), just absolutely in pristine condition, and my eyeballs goggled right out of my head. I’m like, “Uh, dude.” And she’s like, “Who even cares, what a waste of paper.” And I’m like, “Oh, well, I guess we’re going to stop dating right this second.” And she’s like, “Oh. You’re one of those people.” And I’m like, “In the deepest, most firmly rooted places of my soul, yes.”
And she threw that book at me. Literally. A first edition of Harry Potter, dudes. Hurled it at me. She told me later that I looked at her like she’d thrown the baby Jesus across the room, which: worse, actually, what she did. And so I did take it. I took that book right home and promised to love it forever. But then a couple of weeks later I had a lot of guilt about it because even though she didn’t deserve it, it was actually worth quite a lot of money. So I gave it back. But if I did still have that book, that’s what I’d put in the museum, behind thicker bullet-proof glass than what they use to protect the Constitution.
That girl. What a damn Muggle.