“What changed so quickly? Answer me! If you must kill me then please, please tell me why? My baby’s got a suitcase. He’s telling me it’s too late. But don’t nobody, please don’t ask me why. ‘Cause all I did was love him. But I can’t stop him walking, My baby’s got a suitcase but please don’t ask me why.” Emeli Sande

When some kind stranger asks “why are you single?” its usually followed by a litany of reasons why you would be a great girl from some great guy. Typically you shrug off those discussions with non-committal responses along the lines of “I don’t know why I’m single, guess I haven’t found the right guy yet”… “I really need to focus on my right now”… “I date; I’m just not looking for anything serious”. We repeat these maxims enough until they form a sense of truth. I’m guilty of relying on falsified truths when explaining the real reason I’m single requires too much effort and vulnerability.

I know exactly why I’m single and it has nothing to do with my focus or a lack of looking, though social awkwardness does play a role. My singleness has everything to do with suitcases—overladed satchels forgoing the man, never unpacked upon arrival at his doorstep, then stuffed beyond capacity with souvenirs of relationships past. In the suitcases lie a storage collection of a battered teddy bear of my childhood, clothes of an unloved youth, tattered lingerie enticing the lovers of old their charms no longer eliciting a response. In the pockets, surrounded by the inconsequential material goods, hides an inability to communicate my needs, a perfume of unworthiness, precious jewels to mask a perceived lack of beauty.

Too many people write it off as incapacity to love myself, forgive me for not entrusting a fragile ego on the warped sense of love I learned in life. My suitcases: invisible articles blocking the gateway to my heart, reaffirming the cycle of perfunctory romance.

Guy sees girl, girls says to guy I must warn you I’m not your typical lover, guy guffaws at her disclaimer. Girl is distant, unsure of her place, unwilling to be vulnerable. He wants more of her, more from her. She starts to let him in, allows him to see her true self in hopes that he finds her loveable in the same way that she has come to understand her love for herself. He is comfortable, she is content. He reaps the benefit of her amenity. He unloads years of baggage, unpacks all of his suitcases in the expanse of her arms. He’s relieved from his massive dump, his lax courtship unknowingly sets off a trigger: things that were there no longer present. Lack of acknowledgement, lack of validation, lack of respect for the routine; she starts to doubt, hating herself for losing control, for thinking this time will be different, for depending on him when past experience has taught her to only depend on herself. His new understanding of self projects judgment on them, i.e. her and how she’s failing ‘us’. Her suitcases carefully tucked in the corner, only a small valise present for his visits. He moves in, eyes glazing over the lumps in the corner, his negligence adding scraps to the pile.

He fucked with her filing system, his discards wrecking havoc on her carefully organized luggage. It gets to be too much for her. She loves her sense of understanding, misinterprets his actions, words losing all meaning. She starts to shut down, nothing left to rely on except a faithful self-hatred. The emotions become unbearable and she leaves, taking with her a newly rehatched self-loathing. He shrugs, relaxed as if from vacation, thankful that this last bout of crazy is off his hands. She labors out the door, out of his life, taking her previous possessions and the new weight from his presence. She slinks back to her own cave to reassess, regroup, and repackage her suitcases. When done, she will head out again.

It’s my suitcases that make me beautiful. Every experience compiled into a bag and then labeled accordingly. The wheeled carts precede me in translatable gestures of kindness, respect, care, generosity, love, nurture, peace, confidence. A man finds himself attracted to the definitions in the display not ready to consider the price of those qualities. Your saying that those characteristics are very expensive goes unheeded. Later he acts surprised at the cost finally realizing why no one else stopped at the case.

So, why am I single? I have too many suitcases.