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  • Writer's pictureBillie Proffitt

Waiwera - Natural Artesian Water

It’s Sunday & I’m cleaning up my apartment… I try to always do this so that I feel ready to start the week in a controlled, confident manner early Monday mornings - we all agree that habits usually go downhill during the week from there, right?

I dropped a man off at the airport this morning - I don’t even know what to call him anymore, which I am so ashamed of. Ex-fiancé makes people feel uncomfortable, not to mention brings our history’s reality to the forefront of my mind, along with my anger; boyfriend doesn’t seem appropriate past anyone’s 30’s; we haven’t committed to one another enough to be “partners”; he is my friend, but that doesn’t explain our relationship at all - friends wouldn’t treat one another in the ways this relationship has descended to.

I’ve come across an airplane-sized “Waiwera - since 1875” plastic water bottle on the benches at the foot of my bed amongst my half-worn clothes & other gathered messes from the busy week. This particular container once held 240 ml of the mother molecule, over a year ago when I left the lounge at Auckland airport to fly home to LA. Since then I have washed it & refilled it with the (I feel similar) water from New Zealand that I buy by the gallon at any Trader Joe’s - although one does wonder how they can afford this at less than $4 a gallon… Anyway. Today this small, square-shaped, disposable bottle means even more than it usually does.

On Friday night I looked over in the dark from the driver’s seat on the 5 North to find this lightly-green tinted bottle acting as the indescribable man’s tobacco spit catch. I felt for where I thought I left it in my lap before backing out of the parking spot, but I must have put it in a cup holder & there it was… My precious water drank & in it’s place a horrid dark spit defaming it with a disgusting habit I do not approve of by any means, but have come to accept as one of those arguments unworthy amongst the rest of a shared heterosexual relationship of no commitment or title. Yes, I realize that both aspects of this situation probably need to be re-visited, but it seems I have less time & less effort available for conflicts of this nature as I age.

How was he to know the significance of this plastic canister? It was dark, he’s a man & all the other excuses for how my beloved little reminder of another life could be deemed rubbish without a thought. But still it caught my breath when I saw it with symbolic eyes - emptied of it’s pure contents that I carefully filled so many times since leaving… Since leaving another man’s family & friends after celebrating what would have been his 30th birthday. And now a foul container for this man’s chew; my body tightened.

I didn’t explain myself much, “It’s fine, really,” I had said. “I’m sure it’s been time to let it go for a while now - really I should thank you for the chance to move forward in my life.” I thought about my own words & decided I was right, that nothing made of plastic can prove or take away my life experiences or the relationships I’ve grown amongst them. I had let go of this now useless item days ago.

But here, today, as I face the week’s end & therefore the physical manifestation of my jumbled life, I am entirely surprised to find this more-than-recycle bin-worthy thing after letting it go, & now it’s clean. Washed as best it could be, it is clear instead of brownish black - but yes, still stinks with wintergreen. I am in tears holding this tiny, empty container knowing what it means… That this man with no explanation or title or commitment to me, truly does love me. He heard what I said that night & without a request or any other mention of it, took it upon himself in secret to try to right his wrong, to give effort toward showing respect for my ridiculous attachment to a piece of trash.

It’s a funny thing, life is… all the arbitrary ways we feel so beautifully loved, & the bizarre ways with which we can make others feel the same. This is what life is about… Isn’t it?

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