I confess, my love, to an astounding degree of ineptitude, maybe even dereliction of duty. This house, all three stories of hardwood flooring, decorative molding, bathrooms, stairwells, bedrooms and the exhaustive list of corners, nooks, and crannies, has been transformed into a rescue for rare and endangered dust bunnies.
As I walk through the house, the dust bunnies tumble and scurry, joyously bounding about my feet, grateful for their savior.
But, this altruism has failed me…failed you.
I’m a disastrous house husband.
I admit, I could concoct an assortment of excuses, from the trivial annoyances that plague only those of house husbandry, to elaborate tales, such as how my afternoon jaunt to Trader Joes descended into an absurdist abyss of customer service… But, I could counter—or, even grovel, if you desire—with, Look at the laundry! Those stacks of exquisitely, all naturally cleansed, deodorized fabrics! You the strong, independent woman, following your career passions, have a wardrobe at your disposal! Armor to smash glass ceilings!
Your hand seizes a clump of my hair, my neck twisted about, as I’m hauled off…
You wanna see something! You scream.
You yank me through a doorway, my body lurching into the plaster walls until I’m thrust onto my knees, nostrils inhaling grains of cat litter…
You didn’t empty the litter box! You smell that shit? Do you! Do you see that shit? Those miniature black sausages of feline excrement!
What’s your punishment, my little bitch?
I’m only capable of incoherent sniveling and quivering…
When you’re in the camps, my little bitch, you will appreciate this—
I’m no longer dawdling.
There are no fanciful justifications.
There are no precious, stylized words typed onto my laptop screen for art or for clients.
Now, my days are devoted to exterminating dust bunnies with extendable, micro-fiber dusters and scrubbing bathroom mildew with skin scorching industrial solutions.
Today, on my hands and knees, I’m inspecting an untreated, unpolished splotch of hardwood flooring…
Do you fucking see that spot? My wife implores, her hand squashing my face into the floor. Do you, my ungrateful house bitch?
I want you to polish that spot with your tears, house bitch…
When I’m permitted a fews hours of socialization, my friends inquire, Are you good? You aren’t drinking much tonight… I mean, that Long Red River IPA is fantastic.
Gluten free, now, I ruefully smile.
Narrowing, incredulous eyes, Seriously?
I nod, lying.
A hand rises to console, but I flinch.
Sorry, I sigh.
It’s alright, man, you can talk… it’s cool.
Maybe, one day, I say, One day…