Breakup Diorama, Decor, Mind
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[BREAK UP DIORAMA IV] Kitchen / ‘You’re Gonna Make Me Lonesome When You Go’

Chew on this. Read the Museum Plaque Introduction»

I’ve seen love go by my door
It’s never been this close before
Never been so easy or so slow
Been shooting in the dark too long
When somethin’s not right it’s wrong
Yer gonna make me lonesome when you go

Bob Dylan, You’re Gonna Make Me Lonesome When You Go (Blood On The Tracks)


[Figure i: The bourgeoisie hunting party. She knew it the first time she saw his house, one week in. This was never going to work. The kitchen curtains depicted a hunting scene with British bourgeoisie on horses sporting riding crops and foxhounds and bloodlust on thick plasticized 1970s polyester that only hung 3/4 of the way down the window. The dingy oil-based yellow paint that started in the studio ended halfway down the kitchen wall, picking up in dull white primer where that left off. One and a half years later, she found herself driving 30 miles to a second Pier 1 Imports in Eagle to snag a second panel of those $11 (org. $55) chocolate-hued sale curtains with the orange wavy streaks embroidered up the middle. When she brought those curtains to the paint store, she picked out “Burnt Coffee” to match that twist. Obviously, this synchronistic color swatch was a sign that this kitchen, this time, was meant to be.]

Dragon clouds so high above
I’ve only known careless love
It’s always hit me from below
This time around it’s more correct
Right on target, so direct
Yer gonna make me lonesome when you go

Kitchen_overview[Figure ii: Just eat it. A day after she saw his kitchen for the first time, they went out for sushi. He could see the switch in her. She was feeling it before, but suddenly not anymore. This, obvious in her indifferent and distractable eyes. He said, “You know, I have a lot of friends I could be with right now, but I chose to be with you.” Burn. She looked at him again, directly now, eyebrows raised in piqued interest.]

Purple clover, Queen Anne’s Lace
Crimson hair across your face
You could make me cry if you don’t know
Can’t remember what I was thinkin’ of
You might be spoilin’ me too much, love
Yer gonna make me lonesome when you go


[Figure iii: Ex marks the spot. On the fridge hung photos of his ex, who had moved out over a year and half earlier to go to a grad school in Arizona. For a month or so, she continued to date him, but her mind subversively plotted a hesitant retreat. She just could not get past this place, this dust-coated house of his, and the stagnation and disregard it signified. Until the face on the fridge came back on Christmas Day. She remembered seeing the back of the ex’s long red hair through the kitchen window, as she drove away to let them talk it out. When she came back the next night to hear the lowdown, he told her the ex wanted to get back together. It was an ultimatum proposal of sorts. “Give me some time to think,” he said. She sat at the kitchen table, reeling with shock, like someone had punched her in the stomach then immediately proceeded to hot-box the room. Tears lit up her eyes. They talked all night. About what this still tenuous connection meant to both of them. About what he wanted in life. “I am better for you than her,” she thought, trying to remain superficially neutral in his decision making, but seeing the force of her raw emotion in that kitchen chair as a clarifying moment of love, “I can tell by this house. That she did not help you with it. I will show you what love is.” She held him all night, too. Seven years later, taking down pictures of their couple-dom from the fridge, she left a few up, wondering how long it would take for him to strip them off at last. Or, more likely, for his next girlfriend to get tired of the eyes staring at her from the Frigidaire, and finally do it herself.]

Flowers on the hillside, bloomin’ crazy
Crickets talkin’ back and forth in rhyme
Blue river runnin’ slow and lazy
I could stay with you forever and never realize the time


[Figure iv: Monsters in the cupboard. She bought the kitchen island at Big Lots for $125 and they dubbed it garçon. She replaced the knobs with hand-painted porcelain ones from Mexico. The sleek futuristic toaster oven that sat on top became a center of great culinary invention. Coffee, as it does, became a ritualistic relationship meeting ground, but their tastes regarding grinders and makers and milk styles differed with jittery passion. Still in the morning, often up first (but never early), she would bring him coffee, set the cup on garçon boudoir next to the bed, kiss him on the cheek. Even now, this corner of the kitchen sparks mostly happy memories. Of smells in the making. Of tea and games. Of feeding three cats. Of feeding one other.]

Situations have ended sad
Relationships have all been bad
Mine’ve been like Verlaine’s and Rimbaud
But there’s no way I can compare
All those scenes to this affair
Yer gonna make me lonesome when you go


[Figure v: Scratch the surface. The white primer paint covered the kitchen cupboards too. “A shame,” she thought, spying the original woodgrain underneath the scratches. “These cupboards are beautiful below,” she declared to the reality TV home makeover show crew in her mind, over and over. Then, there they were. All the cupboards spread out on the lawn. He and his dad sweating it out for hours under the relentless summer sun, painstakingly stripping the primer off, sanding down the surface, and smoothing in linseed oil. The cupboard doors gleamed there in the blazing light. The wood more beautiful in grain and glow than she had ever dreamed possible.]

Yer gonna make me wonder what I’m doin’
Stayin’ far behind without you
Yer gonna make me wonder what I’m sayin’
Yer gonna make me give myself a good talkin’ to


[Figure vi: Stir it up. She is terrible at math, but if you have 3 meals a day, say just 2 a home, for 5 years, that’s some 3,640 dishes concocted in a single kitchen. Added to say, a rough 1,000 creations consumed while dating. A fantastic cook with a musician’s timing and taste for nuance, he made her mouth melt in so many ways. The happiest times in their relationship were almost always food-related. Sometimes in the exquisite tasting of it, but more often in the making of it, or in the spectator sport of it. Watching the crepes flip or the clafouti rise though the oven door. Listening to Anthony Bourdain read Kitchen Confidential while cleaning up the aftermath of some wild mouth-watering scheme. Watching the plating and professionalism and passion boil over on Top Chef or Chopped. The thrill of it all. They just couldn’t get enough.]

I’ll look for you in old Honolulu
San Francisco, Ashtabula
Yer gonna have to leave me now, I know

Kitchen_dishwasher[Figure vii: Clean your plate. She left her dishwasher behind in the break up. She left a lot of things (garçon included). Though this was the one thing she warned him she might return for, when she has a place that fits it. Her dad had brought it all the way from Minnesota, a free gift from a friend of his. Her dad then moved the washer and dryer (she always hated doing laundry in the sticky kitchen) to the back room, refigured plumbing for the sake of it all, and installed the dishwasher. She paid for all the incidental parts. She was so excited. Finally, the end to that endless chore of a sink full of dishes. He did not share in her delight, complaining of the silt the dishwasher left in the bottom of their glasses. At this point, he liked to detail the various ways new home projects were expensive, time consuming, not usually worth it. Even a free dishwasher. Possibly even her unique way of taking up space, then her endless revisions of it.]

But I’ll see you in the sky above
In the tall grass, in the ones I love
Yer gonna make me lonesome when you go

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