For the first time in over two months, I set the alarm next to my bed. The furniture store where I worked was finally reopening, so I was returning to work tomorrow. I had planned an early night so I would be bright-eyed and fresh-faced on my first day back, but between the anticipation and my lack of a sleep schedule over the past weeks, I hadn’t been tired. I stayed up way too late watching Veep.
I was finally climbing into bed when I remembered that it was trash night. It was tempting to just skip it this week, but I had cooked chicken a few days ago. I didn’t want to leave the packaging and trimmings rotting in the cart for over a week. I needed to get it wheeled to the curb. Sighing, I stripped off my nightgown and pulled on yoga pants and a t-shirt.
In the kitchen, I pulled the bag out of the trash can and tightened the drawstrings then reached under the sink for a fresh bag. The box was empty. I had ordered more but they were still in my car.
When I picked up my latest order of groceries I had wiped down the frozen and refrigerated stuff and put it away, but I left the non-perishables to quarantine in my car for a few days. Come to think of it, some of that stuff probably shouldn’t sit in a hot trunk all day at work tomorrow. I gathered the bags and carried them inside.
As I walked past the washer, I remembered that there was a load in there that needed to be transferred. I set the groceries in the hallway and opened the dryer to toss in a fabric softener sheet.
There was a load of clothes in the dryer, too. Of course. I scooped them into a laundry basket and carried it into my bedroom. After pulling out the things that would wrinkle if they sat in a heap overnight, I took them to the walk-in closet to hang them.
The closet was stuffed, so I practically needed a shoehorn to hang the clean clothes. I decided to wear my favorite black pants and a cheerful pink blouse to work the next day, and I pulled their hangers off the rack to check them for wrinkles. I was going to be in no mood for ironing in the morning.
As I inspected the pants, I began to feel uneasy. After two months of sitting around in sweat pants and eating whatever I felt like, I had put on a little weight.
A little. I snorted.
I shucked the yoga pants and pulled on the black pants. I had to suck in my stomach to button them. As long as I didn’t breathe tomorrow, I might be okay. Checking out my reflection in the floor-length mirror, it looked like I had been poured into the pants and they were about to burst.
I peeled them off and put them back on the hanger, then looked for something else to wear. There was a skirt with a looser cut that would do in a pinch. Normally I wore it with sandals but I hadn’t had a pedicure in two months, so I went foraging through my shoes for a suitable pair of flats.
This closet was a disgrace. I had shoes I hadn’t worn in years and would probably never wear again. The racks were crammed with clothes I had forgotten I even had. Instead of getting rid of stuff, I had been buying more hangers. A lot of people were going to need to shop in thrift stores in the coming months. I should really donate some of this stuff I never wore.
I started a pile of neglected shoes and added some dresses I should have returned, and a blouse that had been a gift from my sister. Even after I lost the weight I had gained recently, some of this stuff was never going to fit again. It gave me a pang, but I was ruthless as I threw things into the donation pile. As my remaining clothes began to slide freely on the rack, I started to get excited. I should sort through the dresser and the coat closet, too. And the kitchen. There was way too much stuff crammed into my cabinets.
But first I had to get out of the closet. My donation pile was blocking the doorway. Luckily, the attic access was in the closet and I knew I had some empty boxes up there. I pulled down the trapdoor and climbed the sliding ladder.
The overhead light didn’t work. I’d have to change the bulb next time I was up here, which was probably what I had thought last time I was up here. For now, I felt my way over to the stack of boxes. And walked into an enormous spider web.
I did a little dance as I pawed at my face and hair, slapping at my shirt in case there was a spider crawling on it. As I imagined a gob of spider eggs hatching in my hair, I scurried down the ladder, vaulted over the donation pile, tore off my clothes and hopped in the shower.
After blow drying my hair and putting on a clean nightgown, I realized it was well past midnight. Tomorrow was going to be a disaster if I didn’t get some sleep. Then I remembered I hadn’t set the coffee maker yet. I padded into the kitchen.
The bag of trash was still sitting in the middle of the kitchen floor.
I laughed all the way through this story. It was so easy to identify with ALL these situations
Christine Jackson says
Wait, I thought you said this was fiction. That is such a cute anecdote that it might need to be re-filed under non-fiction. Good job Angela.
Marjory Harris says
I loved this and can relate as during Stay in Place I have had similar experiences. You made me laugh!
Judy Clay says
I always look forward to Angela’s short stories and this was delightful.
Cathy Ryan says
This is delightful. Thank you for the laugh.
Bilquis Dairkee says
I loved the way each action was a surprise. The humor added more spice to your short story.
I would like to read more of your stories.
love and peace.
Yeah i know the feeling getting carried away and forgetting the first act that started it
Great storyline feels surreal
Have you been spying on me? I loved the plot line. You did an excellent job hooking me with the goal and motivation. The conflicts or alternative situations kept this reader engaged.
What put me off and something you need to watch is your usage of these words: Was, that, went, were and the. Try to look at your work and remove or reword sentences that contain these words. You will find your stories are more tight and concise. Editors love this type of writing.
I know you’re done with this story but for fun go through it and try to remove all unnecessary words.
Jane Bolton says
Susan Garzon says
This was a fun story. There was so much I could identify with. I’m seriously afraid to try on my slacks!
Gene Goldfarb says
I scanned this a few days ago, and it seemed to have some charm. Then this morning I read it word for word. It felt like an organizing manual for clearing out your house. Only mildly amusing, and saved by its brevity. Maybe because it mirrors my own self loathing.
This story describes everyones Trash Night ! Laughable, vivid scenes and very descriptive. Found myself thinking, “Wait does she know me and my normal?!” Too funny but so real. Thank you Angela. Happy story.