My wife is one of those people that has to live in a spotless environment, I think it is why we don’t have kids yet but that’s a whole other story. I am not naturally neat, I like to leave my clothes on the floor overnight and decide what can be worn again in the morning. The last time my clothes lay in a heap overnight was on the day before we married.
Of course we can’t know everything about our spouses before we marry, even if we have lived over the brush for a while. Something changes in the exchange of rings, everything we have held in check whilst puffing up our feathers to catch our mate is let out like a long silent fart.
So my wife has borderline obsessive compulsive disorder, a neat freak, everything having a place and it being kept in that place. I can work around her, because she is the love of my life. I know us macho males aren’t supposed to admit it, but when she arrived into my circle of friends, I had to have her. As a result I put away the forks exactly as she likes them placed in the green baize lined drawers, I pick up my clothes at night and place them all in the hamper regardless of soiling because she likes the smell of of my cologne through pristinely pressed linen shirts and I always take off and put away my outdoor shoes before entering the apartment just because.
In all of this seemingly one-sided compromise, I have a dirty little secret. Something that if she knew I can only assume we would part ways, so I am very careful. Once a month I lock myself into the bathroom, remove the third tile on the far wall, reach in and take out my matchboxes. I spread out the contents on the floor and just smile, then I add ten more to my collection. After ten to fifteen minutes of admiring my toenail hoard I collect them up into their boxes in a totally random and ramshackle manner adding to the pleasure. I don’t go as far as to speak to them but I do smile one last time thinking of all the years I have been collecting them, smug about the secret and remembering the love I have for Selena, my wife that makes living in this clinical atmosphere bearable.
“Where’s my tweezers?”
“Don’t you what fridge me, Josh, you know which tweezers. I only have one pair, pink, sharp ends. Always kept in the pot by the mirror.”
“Oh, those tweezers, when are you gonna’ stop using that fridge thing, it was years ago and not very funny then.”
“That is so typical of you, deflect from the issue. Where are my damn tweezers? And by the way, it was two years ago and it was very important to me. You know that, why do you do this? WHERE ARE MY TWEEZERS?”
“They might be in the sink. I might have used them to get a screw out. I might need for you to buy new ones. Look I sold the fridge, we were short for the rent, I didn’t know you were given that food. It was my fault. I admitted it then, and again I admit. When will you get off my back?”
“Josh, I need the tweezers, I have an interview tomorrow. Oh what is the point? You will never change. Remind me, why am I still here?” finally a faint smile started at the corners of her mouth.
“Because you are crazy about my foot massages, and no one else would put up with constant job changing, mood shifting, high maintainance tush. Oh and I love you. Come here, babe, I am sorry about the tweezers.” He pulled the pliable Amy towards him.
Talenkynic – no last name from Zylmor
Mary Cronin with the nickname Morrigan (queen of crows, irish mythology)
Maplesyrup Maguire, badly named by social climbing mother, Annie
Chrystal O’Brien, settled traveller
Rohan Williard, aka Red
Sukey Mackie, artist
Joy Wellcome, Annie Maguire’s childhood and adult best friend
Mimosa Harwich, Annie Maguire’s boss
Joshua Flynn, Mary Cronin’s “the one”
Kuldeep Jayaraman, Joshua’s school friend
Gaetana Jayaraman, Kuldeep’s sister
All characters in progress
Sybil sighed as she paused at the window, “Oh my, what a beautiful day,” she exclaimed to herself. She soaked in the immaculately mowed and rolled lawns, the stripes were especially pleasing. Beyond the lawn, the lake, mirroring the azure sky and fluffy white clouds. She could make out the shape of the swans floating majestically. She smiled wryly to herself as she thought, like herself , the swans were paddling good-oh under the water to maintain the graceful exterior above the water.
Turning she caught a glimpse of herself in the mirror and patted the back of her head as if there was a hair out of place, she smoothed down her dress and carried on to Jason’s room. “Good morning, darling, did you sleep well?” she asked as she knocked and entered her husband’s room.
“Ah, Sybil, yes, yes, indeed, a good sleep. A man needs a good sleep. Come, sit with me for a while,” Jason answered, ever positive from his sickbed.
“Hobbs will be here with breakfast shortly, I ordered kippers for us and some brown soda bread. A reminder of home, Jason. Tomorrow back to healthy, healthy, healthy,” she sat down on the edge of the bed as she spoke smiling lovingly at Jason.
The smile unfortunately started a coughing fit for Jason, the two of them were so engrossed in the violent exhalations that but for the smoky aroma of the cured herrings pervading their midst, Hobbs would have gone unnoticed. “Hobbs, please help me raise up Mr Jason,” Sybil whispered across the room.
“Of course, Ma’am,” Hobbs swiftly pushed two plumped up pillows behind the convulsing Jason.
“That will be all Hobbs,” Sybil dismissed the servant and continued to tend to her husband. ……..15 mins up
We lived in a tenement in Dublin, my mother and I. Dad had died of TB when I was really small. Mammy was a small tired woman who never had time to sit still, she did for three ladies and took in washing. Our flat always smelled of Fairy soap flakes and Robin starch. When it was raining and the sheets couldn’t dry outside mammy would send me to look for wood to put on the fire to warm the rooms.
One day I was on this mission, jumping into puddles on the waste ground when I found a packet of flower seeds. It was brown with no picture but I could read the word, ‘Mimosa’, Mammy loved to read and one of the books she had borrowed from the Ladies at the Mission was “Told on the Pagoda” by Mimosa. She would read these fables from Burma, interlaced with stories of her father, an soldier in the Gurkhas, from the Karen part of the country.
I ran home, not with timber but with my precious cargo. Mammy cried when she saw the seeds and we both went out in the rain to find a corner of earth for them to go in. We waited long days for the seeds to come up, I would run out in the morning to check before going to school and as soon as I got home in the afternoon I would rush out to look at the little pile of dirt.
One day Mammy was singing and smiling when I got home, she didn’t look quite as tired or small. Running out I saw the tiny stems coming through the ground, I turned and hugged Mammy. We smiled together and had jam on our bread for tea. Our little plants seemed in a weird way to give us hope.
We moved into the country before the plants grew and the tenements were razed, but we always had a Mimosa Tree in the garden in every home we ever had, we call them “Tree of Hope” from the story in Mimosa’s book, “The Vigil of Mah May” our favourite tale.