Her hairbrush in his bathroom bothered me. It seemed out of place and yet it was there on the sink as if it had always belonged there. Every time I washed my hands, it stared at me, asking me who I was. Everything else in his apartment knew me. It bothered me also that she left her hair in it. It bothered me, because it made their relationship appear even more real. She was staying nights. She left her things in his apartment. She really was his girlfriend now. How I hated the term. And how I hated the idea of him going out on dates with her. It wasn’t like him. Her hairbrush in his bathroom bothered me, because I felt like she was trying to make him fit a mold he was ten times too large for.
I never understood why people felt the need to openly display their relationships like this. Why they needed to mark their territory like dogs. Neither did I ever fully grasp the concept of pet names, the worst of which I thought were the patronizing “baby” and the more objectifying variant of “babe”. At what point in a relationship did one cease to be Tom or Sheila or Sam or Mia? When, how and why did one suddenly become “buttercup”, “cowgirl”, “sweetie pie” or “monkey butt”? Her hairbrush on his bathroom sink made me realize that I didn’t care for the fuss most people made about their relationships, that I abhorred the idea of making a spectacle of love. She was well on the way to turning him into someone he was not. I resented the fact that she didn’t even realize she was changing him. I didn’t want him to change. He couldn’t change. He had to be just the way he had always been. He was perfect that way.