Perhaps you've had a one-night stand after which you've checked and rechecked your person and your bag for every last minuscule belonging, as if you're checking out of a hotel room and cannot afford to delay your trip by running back for that book light you left in the nightstand. It's the stuff that's key to never seeing that person again. Certainly we've all had fragile new relationships, which could not withstand what our stuff might say, if we left it behind in our absence. Again, you put the CSI crew to shame with your thorough combing of the area as you leave because a single forgotten earring could look like a deliberate ruse, a desperate attempt to regain access to the space and the person in it. I blame this misinterpretation of forgotten stuff on girls far more clever and underhanded than I, who leave things on purpose, so they have a reason to call or come back. "Hey, I seem to have misplaced my broad sword. Did I leave it at your apartment? Can you check behind the refrigerator? Oh, it is there? OK, I'll come by and pick it up right now!" Women! Feh!
As significant as the removal of every last silhouette of one's personal effects may be, the gradual deliberate leaving of residual belongings is just as momentous. When the right person says it, nothing makes me grin like, "Can I leave a toothbrush here?" Even still, that toothbrush could be discarded at the first spat. What's more important is the things left behind which will someday need to be retrieved. "I think I left my glasses at your place. Oh, I'll just get them the next time I come over." This is security. This is stuff saying, "Hey, s/he's not going anywhere, certainly not in any big hurry." It's a more subconscious way of lending things, and lending things is certainly a sign of trust. How much do you learn about a person when you lend him/her something? A lot! How long does s/he have it? What condition is it in when you get it back? Do you ever get it back at all? It's a commitment, albeit a small one of relative unimportance.
What was my point? I guess it's that, whether we excavate someone else's home like Tutankhamen's tomb before we leave it or deviously leave our insulin in the fridge or honestly leave a piece of jewelry because we're relaxed enough to let it slip our minds and earlobes, we knowingly or unknowingly narrate the state of our interpersonal relationships with our stuff.
And just when you thought this post might not be all warm and squishy, here it comes! My impetus for writing this is that every room in my apartment has some stuff that makes me smile. I'm currently reading a book vblood911 lent me, and I still have a bunch of DVDs she lent me scattered throughout the place. There's a bathing suit in my bedroom for some strange reason it took me a while to recall, and my toothbrush has acquired a live-in companion. (They're so cute together, but I hope they aren't rushing things.) The kitchen has wine and bourbon I cannot (and would not) drink. I keep finding gigantic pieces of jewelry few people can pull off. They'd be comical on me, but they're not mine, so no worries. In any case, I like what the stuff here has to say. It says we're not so carefully cataloging our belongings; they can be checked out and returned at will with no late fees. It says I haven't screwed up yet, and she'll be back soon.
P.S. -- Someday I'll write about something else. Someday.