Love has never been so smelly


Aubrey Cruson

Two dumpsters next to each other with hearts in between.

April 6, 2022

It is seven o’clock in the morning and the sun begins to rise, bringing light to a small and empty parking lot. Those who live in the lot awake for the new day and take in the mural of orange and pink above them. Small rodents stretch and shake last night’s sleep off their coats of fur, while baby birds welcome themselves to the world by breaking out of their shells. And all alone in a far section of the lot sits a dumpster; its color is a faded blue and coated in the slime of trash gone by. Despite the absence of one dumpster, a piece of paper still finds itself carried by the wind from the remaining waste bin. The letter floats far away to a destination unseen. 

Dearest Robert, 

It has been just a few months since you left the lot, since you left me. I still think of that night and how beautiful the snow was just before the crash. I think of how safe I felt by your side, how I thought we’d never be apart. And I also think of how wrong I was about all of it. 

We had five years of nearly perfect bliss together. Although we could never touch, we always had plenty to discuss. I fondly recall a very detailed (and mildly heated) letter exchange about whether or not Spud was an appropriate raccoon name..which I still believe is a perfectly acceptable choice… 

I digress – my point is that writing to you was always easy. My existence was a lonely one before you, so to have a dumpster just like me appear upon my doorstep one day meant love at first sight. 

If there is such a thing. 

I clung to you like maple syrup and maggots, a combination I’ve faced more than once. You were my safe space, my dearest, my love, my perfect worrywart boyfriend. And now you’re just…gone. 

I feel myself growing less optimistic in your absence. You were always the pessimistic one, constantly worried about your clean complexion, so concerned with the humans and their intent to keep us apart. I suppose all of your worrying made me feel like I had to be the positive one for the both of us. You’d complain about the distance between us, and I’d remind you that it had never stopped us from enjoying one another’s company. You once whined about being covered in canned chili and tuna fish, and I explained that love had made me “nose blind” so it was no concern of mine. After the accident I no longer feel like being the cheerful one. 

Thank goodness you’re coming back next week!

Three months without you has been hellish. I hope things are going well at the repair plant. I know you had quite a sizable dent in your side after that idiot ran into you, but you’re capable of recovery. I’m sure you are. 

David and Carol send their love, as well as Spud who is just three months old and very eager to meet you. You weren’t here to stop me recommending such a perfect baby name, so I followed my gut. Turns out Carol also saw the potential in Spud. 

Come back soon, darling. The space next to me feels so hollow in your absence. 

-Missing you, 

Trash Boy