The key

The fragile mountain of clothes was growing dangerously. So dangerously actually that it was threatening to take over the room and force its own rule upon the things around. The bedroom was at the edge of a cruel and machiavellian frock dictatorship. In front of the bed two large bin bags waited quietly for the storm to pass. Between them, a very short dress. Very pink. With a cut out on the front in the shape of a flower. Hanging onto the dress material, a girl with dark hair. She wore nothing else than pink underwear, with an image of Betty Boop on the back of her pants. She was oblivious to the cold and to the incongruity of the situation. She had more important items on Her agenda: What did She have in mind when She bought that mad dress and could She still fit in it? She couldn’t face a failure today. She just couldn’t. She had to decide without trying it on. If She had been honest with Herself She would have known that there was no room in Her wardrobe, or any wardrobe, for the cut out dress. If She had been honest … She sighed and placed the dress in the left bin bag, for the clothes She wanted to keep preciously, at the bottom of a box under the roof where nobody would ever go again. She considered the next item on the list: a fluffy jumper with more holes in than fluff. She seemed to remembered it was a nice shade of red, or at least it had been at the time She bought it. It seemed it had turned in a mix of colours She couldn’t quite identify.

– I really don’t need that, do I? She asked loudly.

The teddy bear didn’t reply but it looked like it was silently nodding. She took the hint and threw the jumper into the right bin bag with a heavy sigh at the attention of all the memories She possibly had made wearing it. She didn’t remember much but She wanted to believe the poor old jumper had had a happy life. You never know, it’s said to be important in your last moments to sit down and look back at your story and so She did for the jumper. Then She grabbed the next item. And so the next hour saw many clothing dilemmas, involving many forgotten memories and even a collection of holes surrounded by material that once looked like it would have been a pair of tights.   

She decided She deserved a break… She had been trying to bring order into the carefully pilled up chaos of colourful cotton, wool, jersey and chiffon for too long. She ran downstairs, turned the kettle on and caught Her reflection in the oven door. Instinctively She pulled Her stomach in, to pretend to Herself that She was way thinner than She knew She was. Admittedly She had learned not to trust Her own lies despite Her naturally innocent looking face. Well, She thought it looked innocent. Nobody had had the heart to tell Her about those mischievous eyes in which She was convinced to recognize all the purity of the world. She realized for a start that She needed to put more clothes on. Maybe She wouldn’t have to pretend to some unnaturally skinny appearance by stopping breathing. More importantly She noticed She wasn’t feeling very warm. She ran back upstairs and wrapped Her skin into warm materials as the kettle boiled gently. The kettle clicked loudly in the silent house. I’m done boiling, the kettle seemed to say.

– I’m coming, She shouted at the attention of the kitchen appliance that had now been given a life of its own and was actively waiting for Her to come back.

She threw a tea bag into Her oversized Winnie the Pooh mug, hid it under a little hill of granulated sugar and sank the lot into water. A faint buzz came from upstairs. She ran back up.

How’s your day so far? By the way, I don’t think I have told you enough today: I love you xxx

She smiled, as She always did when She received a message from Him.

Missing your blue eyes, my darling.

She typed fast.

She reread. Damn! She had sent it too fast again.

She sent another message.

I love you xxx When are you coming?

She then ran back downstairs and finished preparing Her bucket of tea: a few drops of milk and some energetic stirring action. Done. Off with the tea bag. She stood with her back against the sink and took a sip, looking straight in the eyes of the girl with a red jumper who faced Her into the oven door. Cheers, She thought. She would need another two buckets of tea to clear up the mess of clothes. As Her phone buzzed with His love again, She was busy moving Her summer clothes into the guest room. She had managed to get rid of half the content of the bedroom wardrobe, by piling what She didn’t need for the cold months into the other wardrobe, waving it good bye to a charity cause or simply accepting the death of holy clothes.

I love you, my lovely. I’m on my way. Should be with you soon. Xxx

She felt Her blood rushing in all directions at the same time as She read.

Damn. Damn. Damn.

She ran into the bathroom, removing her socks as She went. The red jumper flew on the side. She grabbed the toothbrush, the toothpaste and jumped into the shower, with a great cry as the first cold drops of water touched Her skin. What She hoped was a couple of minutes later, even though the clock seemed to believe it was more like the third of a hour, she left the bathroom, wrapped into a long towel, dripping water all around Herself. She opened the wardrobe, gasped at the empty space and proceeded into choosing fresh smelling clothes to cover Her assets. Then She ran downstairs and filled up the kettle. She grabbed the oversized Eeyore mug from the cupboard and softly placed a tea bag at its bottom. No sugar. He never took sugar with English Breakfast tea. She joined in and poured Herself Her fourth cup of tea, with a lot of sugar in this one. She looked at the time. 7:20pm. He would be hungry. She took the wooden board, the one with the mysterious burnt mark on the bottom. She didn’t remember how it had happened. She opened the fridge, chose the bluest and only cheese on the shelf and place it carefully in the centre of the board. She surrounded it with cherry tomatoes, spinach leaves and a large piece of chorizo. She glanced back to the fridge in despair. Just as empty as the wardrobe. She filled up the kettle a last time as Her phone buzzed. 

I’m off the motorway. Just stopping for some fuel. Will be with you in a bit, my darling. Love you xxx

She poured the water into a saucepan, added some salt flakes and cracked two eggs above the boiling water.

I love you my heart. See you in a bit xxx

She removed the eggs and placed them delicately onto the spinach leaves. Then She took the board to the lounge and ran back to unlock the door. She went back to the lounge, sat on the sofa, looked around the room and swore. She bounced back onto Her feet, ran to the kitchen and removed the tea bags from the mugs. She finished pouring milk into the dark brown liquid when She heard His car parking on the drive. She walked to Him as He opened the door.

‘Welcome home, my love’, She said and stood on Her toes to kiss Him.

He wrapped His arms around Her, building a small bubble of happiness that stopped time for a few seconds. He let Her hair draw wet patterns on His shoulder. He didn’t complain. He softly kissed the side of Her forehead as She placed a blue mug of tea into His hand.

‘I made us a snack’, She smiled. ‘But first I have a surprise for you.’

He followed Her to the stairs as She went to the bedroom. Maybe He half expected She would remove Her clothes sensually when She asked Him to shut His eyes. She put a small, metallic object in the palm of His hand. He heard the sound of a door. He opened His eyes. In front of Him, there was a half empty wardrobe. In His hand, a key pressed its cold shape against His skin.

‘Welcome home, my love’, She repeated.