Closing Up Shop on a Marriage


The store sells all of life’s mundane items, which in the end get trashed, recycled or flushed. Items that are nothing but also everything: lint rollers, deodorant, greeting cards, magazines, school supplies, vitamins.

That time I had a headache, or a sore throat, or that other time when my husband’s allergies flared up after we rode in a cab through Central Park when the pink double blossom cherry trees were in bloom, him with his head out the window like a golden retriever glowing with joy, but a person. My person.

My husband and I separated in 2016. We didn’t have children or own property or have much money. Our marriage was glorious until it wasn’t. In the end, we weren’t even sharing meals. But one thing that has lingered is our shared Duane Reade rewards account, the kind that gives you discounts and points. It’s one of those artifacts so minor, so inconsequential, that I never think about the fact that we still share it until seconds before I pay. Then, boom, beep, and the receipts are emailed to me.

He now shops at his Duane Reade near where he lives, not at our Duane Reade, because there is no longer any “our” (except for our shared rewards card). I see from his itemized receipts that he bought three rolls of Christmas tissue to wrap gifts (not for me), teeth whitening products (for smiling at someone else), hair taming cream (for his unruly locks), and he was charged the five-cent shopping bag fee (because evidently he forgot his).

My therapist would say I should close the account, but I stopped seeing her a few years ago. My ex-husband and I are still in touch, and when I reminded him of our shared account, he said he knows I love Duane Reade and gave me permission to use his points (and even gave me permission to write about all this).


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