‘I’ll leave you to your perfect life,’ she said as I closed her car’s boot.
That’s the third time she said it.
She came to my fiancée’s apartment with almost enough cash to buy a vacuum.
My fiancée and I had two of everything:
Our apartment was the Noah’s ark of appliances.
My fiancée was sick, so I was writing ads,
I was the Willy Loman of eBay.
‘What a beautiful apartment,’ the buyer said,
and it almost was: art deco, wood panels, high ceilings.
The buyer didn’t see my fiancée lying in bed, door closed.
The buyer told me her woes: divorced single mother, dirty house.
I smiled sympathetically.
‘But you wouldn’t know,’ she said, looking around. ‘You have a perfect life.’
I brushed it off, proved the vacuum worked.
She counted cash – she was $5 short.
‘But I drove 40 minutes,’ she said,
and I wanted her out.
She parked three blocks away,
complained about her hips,
so I carried my vacuum (now her vacuum) to her car.
‘You must love living there,’ she said.
I could have talked about my partner’s chronic illness but I just smiled and nodded.
‘What a perfect life,’ she mused.
It irked me how she thought my life was so great,
but I had no proof it would get worse, just a sense,
She turned the ignition and drove to her dirty house while I went back to my perfect life.
My partner became worse,
life became harder,
the air sucked out of our lives.
I always think of that damn woman when I vacuum.