My morning started out just like any other. I wiped the sleep from my eyes, tied my hair back away from my face, and after wrestling with my kids over breakfast, began my cleaning duties. The first thing I remember seeing when I flipped the bathroom light on was a pile of dirty socks and underwear, my husbands. He has this annoying habit of leaving a heap of mess wherever he goes. I took a deep breath, collected my evidence, and walked calmly into our bedroom. There, scattered all the way around the laundry basket was another collection of crusty socks, underwear, and various t-shirts. My body became flushed with warmth and I could feel my face turning red.
I screamed out loud, “Just because I stay home doesn’t make me his maidservant! He can’t even put his dirty clothes in the basket!”
I had had enough. This was an accumulation of never ending thoughtlessness on my husband’s part. I began walking towards the phone. I was not going to wait for my husband to get home before I gave him a piece of my mind. Why should he get to enjoy a day at work without hearing his wife complain? Everyday of my workweek is filled with his lazy inconsiderateness, I thought to myself. Just as my sweaty palm grasped the phone it rang.
It was my sister and she sounded half dead.
“What’s wrong, Debra?”
“Matt was on his way to work. We had a big fight this morning right before he left. He was upset.”
“Oh no, what happened, Deb? What happened?”
Tears began to swell up in my eyes. She sounded so lost. I already knew what she was going to say. After a long pause the words managed to stumble out of her mouth.
“He’s dead, Jane. My last words to him were in anger. He got in a car accident on his way to work and now my husband is dead! HE’S DEAD!”
I couldn’t believe what my sister was telling me. It was like something out of a movie. How could this be happening to her? She’s only twenty-three, I thought. She never got to say goodbye or I love you. Their lives together ended with a stupid marital spat.
When we got off the phone I wandered around my house in a daze. I ended up in my bedroom. A dull white caught the corner of my eye. I focused in on a dirty sock lying close to my laundry basket. I was happy to see the little stock- pile of dirty clothes that colored my bedroom carpet. My husband’s mess was suddenly a comfort.
I called my husband at work that day, but just to tell him that I loved him. Days later I asked my sister what her and her husband had been fighting about. Her response was that he had left the milk out on the counter like he always did. She exploded in a rage after having to repeatedly ask him not to do that.
Thank God for the little reminders that your loved ones are still alive.
Shonda, I don't know whether you'll ever come by your article here again, but in case you do, I wanted you to see this message and know that you really touched my heart enormously with this message. I know how you felt (and your sister too), and at times have wanted to let my "thoughtless" family have it. But after reading this message I truly do have to say "thank God for dirty socks on the floor" (and wet towels) too. I hope that you are still writing, and encourage you to keep going if you aren't! With love, and many thanks, Deb