First the socks. Black ones bundled together next to the pink in the top drawer. Knickers in the next; everyday white here, black there, special occasion lacy separate. Not that I will need them again unless they bury me in them. Damn, a blue pair muddled, bloody eyesight worse.
Where are the wooden hangers for my shirts? So hard to reach, pain tearing my soul.
A place for everything and everything in its place. Once you start tossing your clothes any which way, ironed and unironed together, where does it all end? Like life, keep the bits separate, keep the parts contained. Compartments. Boxes. Control. Survival.
I’m so bloody tired these days it would be easy not to bother, but what then? What would it say, to have lived my life in boxes and to fall apart at the end?
We don’t talk about the cancer. No point, doesn’t change anything. It eats my bones, eats my eyes, nothing to be done, nothing to stop it except time and that will be soon enough. Nothing left to say whereas once I couldn’t be stopped; a fountain of words and with Mark the words and sex binding us like honey. But I was married, still am and still to the wrong man and now I’m dying. You have to laugh. Or cry. Neither of us cried. Rob did, he was always the weakest.
Damn, my good slacks are still marked, can’t wear them like this, have to wash them again – ah, bending down! That hurts, shouldn’t have done it. Shit!
Don’t leave a mess for others.
Nearly finished, pullovers each folded in their plastic bags and laid in the wardrobe in their proper place, in their snug little homes.
Finished. All in order. Everything in its place.
Knives, forks, spoons, nobody throws them together them in one pile. Clothes the same. Life the same. Boxes each containing their secrets got me through Daddy, helped me survive Mark and it will get me through this.
He’ll be home soon and I have to be finished.
Well, I was smart enough to keep quiet, not like telling about Daddy.
We don’t talk about anything much, Rob and me and that suits me; silence fitted me like a glove when I stopped feeling after Mark. My navy blue silk dress and jacket became my armour. The ‘ice queen’ they all wanted to fuck.
He’ll be home soon, there’s leftovers and salad, that’ll do, he’ll be fine. I guess he won’t be hungry anyway.
Just a moment, rest for a moment, so bloody tired.
I learned my lesson and kept it in boxes: big or small, shiny or dull, old or new. Knickers, socks or love, it works the same way. Shove it in a box, push it under the bed where the monsters live and pretend. Simply pretend.
Ikea boxes are perfect.
He stopped loving me. Mark, I mean.
A life of boxes and compartments and one final box to unlock before he comes home and starts watching me with those doggy eyes. ‘What do you want of me?’ he asks. ‘I want you to be him!’ I scream silently. ‘Lives of quiet desperation’, who said that? I would have known once or Mark would have, finishing each other’s sentences, ricochet words of love and hate in our own world.
One final box, a pretty one. Open the lid, swallow the pills, close the lid and rest. Clean sheets, smoothed pillows. middle class manners to the end. So many words wasted on Mark and so many hours wasted waiting at the phone and now to rest in my box where nobody can touch me. I choose my last box and it is done.