Sometimes a story just finds its way to me and pours out onto the page. Today was one such day, inspired by I am not exactly sure what, other than the rain that has put me in a thoughtful mood.
I’m not a particular sort of person, she always said. There are just a few tendencies, mere habits, preferences really, that I need met.
I can live with that, he said.
He was nice, she thought, a much better lover than the last. Friendly, but not too forward or demanding. Kind and charming. It had been a lovely six months they’d shared. This was a shame, really, and it wasn’t his fault. But, there was no choice. There were some things she preferred and this was one of them.
I like shoes by the door, she said, in neat rows.
I can do that, he said.
I like the floors swept daily to keep away mice and roaches, she said.
That seems logical, he said.
I like kitchen counters clean, she said. Disinfectant and a scrub brush are kept just there, under the sink for such a purpose. After each countertop use, preferably.
I like beds made, mirrors without spots, dishes washed promptly and books shelved in alphabetical order, she went on. I like tabletops and desks clear from clutter, cupboards shut and windows opened one inch in fair weather. The curtains must be closed each night and opened precisely one third the length, to these little marks here.
He stood in the middle of the living room, watching her with his quiet eyes.
I like the cushions on the couch just so and the TV remote set here, and only here, on the side table. This is the table specifically and only for that remote. Moving on. The bathroom door should be left open at 35˚ when not in use, of course. The maximum time permitted in the bathroom at one time is ten minutes. Co-showering is not acceptable in this shower. It is unsanitary.
He had begun shuffling ever so subtly toward the front door.
The alarm is set to 6:05 and never snoozed. Breakfast at 6:45, lunch at 1:05, and dinner at 5:55. Bedtime is 11 except on weekends; 11:20 is acceptable then. Before bed all appliances must be turned off and unplugged. In the morning each must be plugged in and turned on. Resetting all the clocks is a nuisance, but with two sets of hands it will be faster.
He stood by the door, suitcases gathered about his feet.
Sharing my bed may happen one night a week; you may decide which day. I need my beauty rest and that simply cannot happen with you in the bed. So, other nights you will remain in your room and me in mine. Other than these little things, everything else is negocia….
Sigh. She shut the front door. Another one gone. It was always the bedroom that got them.
She picked up the phone and sat carefully on the couch so as to not disturb the cushions.
Mom, she said, her voice catching ever so slightly in her throat. He is gone. Just like all the others. I thought maybe he was different, but, I guess not.
Her mother sighed. I am sorry to hear that, she said. He seemed to be a very nice man.
I just don’t know what is wrong with me, she said.
Nothing is wrong with you, her mother said. You just haven’t found Mr. Right yet.
I am forty years old, Mom, she said. At this point I don’t know if I ever will.
You will, her mother said. Now, when do you think you’ll get back out there? There are so many fish in the ocean.
I don’t know, she said. I need some time.
Her mother sighed again. At this rate I just don’t know when you will ever settle down, she said.
Never, she thought, a smile playing across her lips. Next time maybe she would lead with the bedroom, cut short the prolonged ending ordeal.
To her mother she said, Soon, maybe the next one with be The One.