Well, that’s weird, I thought, as I walked back towards the old Victorian house that my wife and I had just purchased. In my hand I held today’s mail, but within the pile of bills and coupons I also held a large stack of magazines. Titles such as Blush, Man’s Action, Playboy and Real Men seemed to scream from the cover pages. At first it seemed likely that someone had decided to play a prank on us by signing us up for all sorts of magazine subscriptions, but these magazines were dated in the 50s and 60s. They were all seemingly promiscuous though (as promiscuous as the 50s were allowed to be), so maybe it would be better if I hid them from Janet. She got so paranoid around what she considered to be “nudies.”
Right before I reached the door, I heard Janet scream. My heart dropped to my chest as the spike of adrenaline bolted me forward. I ran into the foyer and up the stairs to find a drenched Janet wrapped in a large towel with shampoo dripping from her head. I immediately looked past her into the room behind her where the shower still ran.
“What is it? What happened?” I asked, while consciously moving the magazines behind my back.
“The toilet- it flushed.” She said, looking at me for all the world like it was my fault, even though I had been outside. “And because the toilet flushed the shower turned piping hot. You know we can’t use multiple water sources in older houses like this. Why would you flush the toilet when you knew I was in the shower?”
“I didn’t,” I returned, exasperated by how easily Janet accused him. “I was out-“
“What is that?” She demanded, seeing the stack of mail I held behind my body.
“Just the mail,” I replied, attempting to hide the magazines. “I was just going to-“
“Let me see.”
I handed her the mail, magazines included. She took a look at the stack and then stared up at me in disgust. Without a sound she turned and stormed off towards the bedroom.
3 WEEKS LATER
“Dishes don’t do themselves”
I stared at the post-it on the kitchen sink. I just don’t understand. I know I didn’t leave that note there for her. I guess that doesn’t matter, though. What matters is that Janet believes that I left it, and if Janet believes it then this is just one more thing to add to the list of reasons why she can’t even seem to be in the same room with me anymore.
I can’t say I blame her. There are only two of us in the house, and yet somehow these notes keep popping up all over the place. Just last Thursday Janet had found a note inside the fridge that had kindly suggested that she might want to go purchase groceries. I mean, the note wasn’t wrong, but even still I wasn’t the one who put it there. Then, when she finally did fill up the fridge with new food, the food items somehow were labeled with my name overnight! That one did start a monstrosity of a fight.
The biggest fight, by far, was when Janet found a note on the bathroom scale that “suggested” she might look a bit better 15 pounds lighter. I slept on the living room couch for a few nights after that one. It was so strange though. Where could all these notes be coming from? I was seriously starting to wonder if maybe Janet was starting to lose her mind….
2 WEEKS LATER
I stood on the porch as I watched Janet drive off into the distance. The notes had become too much for her. I’m not surprised that this was all it took. There had been troubles in our marriage before we moved here. The only reason we had even bought this house was for a place to start new. I placed my hands in my pockets as Janet’s Toyota disappeared around a corner. To be honest, I can’t say I felt very sad. In fact, I was more relieved that the whole business was done.
“Whew, boy, am I glad she is gone,” a voice right next to me stated. I jumped, spinning around. Beside me was a boy, nearly a man, no older than 22. He wore blue jeans and a red striped shirt and- oh yeah- he was transparent. I stared at the apparition before me, stunned to speechlessness. “I mean, come on, your ol’ lady was kind of a nag. I’ve been trying to get her to leave for weeks! Now that she’s gone, let’s say we take a look through those magazines?”