I’m starting the new year (and this blog) with one my most recent writings. „Maybe“ is a short story I wrote last year as a birthday present for a friend of mine.
She should have watered the roses.
They seemed to be glaring at her accusingly, all brown leaves and wilted petals.
It occurred to her now, over her cup of Sunday morning tea, as she was looking out across the lawn. A lawn, she realized rather suddenly, the color of sand. A lawn that, just like the roses, hadn’t seen any water in a long while.
The last days —weeks, actually— had been exceptionally hot, even for mid-August. So hot that the air conditioning had broken down at least twice already and she’d had to call someone to get it fixed. It had cost her fortune, too, as if those handymen were just waiting for small disasters to raise their prices exorbitantly and make their year’s worth of income on unsuspecting citizens such as herself.
She was sure of that.
She wouldn’t have had to call someone, though, if he’d still be here. The air conditioning, just like the roses and the lawn, had been his responsibilities. He had been responsible for all the technical stuff around the house.
The technical stuff and the trash. Oh, the goddamn trash.
If only he’d taken out the trash.
But for some reason, taking out the trash had been an insurmountable task for him. At first, he’d forget occasionally and she’d have to take it out instead. But then ‘occasionally’ turned into ‘every other week’, and soon it had turned into ‘always’.
One time, she had refused to take the trash out for him and it had actually sat there for almost two months, slowly overflowing. Becoming home to a multitude of small creatures she hadn’t known had been created by mother nature.
He’d apologized and said he’d forgotten. Forgotten. As if one could simply ‘forget’ they had what would soon turn into a petting zoo underneath their sink.
Now, taking out the trash was her job. And it got taken out every week. No hassle, no arguments, no constant nagging. But she realized now —over her cup of Sunday morning tea— that the roses and the lawn and the air conditioning were now her job as well.
She hadn’t been aware that this was the decision to make: between having to take out the trash herself and having to take out the trash as well as do all the technical stuff around the house.
If she’d known then that this was the choice she’d have to make, she’d have chosen differently.
She’d have gladly taken out the trash every week, every goddamn week, if necessary. She’d have forgiven his forgetfulness, if only he’d kept watering the roses.
She wouldn’t have thought that arsenic was as good an idea as she’d thought at the time.
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