Short Story Sunday #46


Everything was a mess. She walked around the entire house pursing her lips and shaking her head in disgust at the mess. Dust clouded every area of the rooms and dirty clothes were scattered about.

“What is wrong with your face? You look like you’re going to be sick.” A young woman, who was sitting on the couch with a cluster of magazines around her, giggled.

“I think I just might in fact get sick, Dorothy. However, I do not dare to enter the bathroom and see what that looks like.” The older woman sneered.

“What’s wrong, mom?” Dorothy titled her head to one side in confusion.

“Have you looked around your apartment lately? How can you not see what is wrong?”

Dorothy scanned the living room with her eyes and then shrugged her shoulders. She looked back up at her mother her face still showing confusion.

“It’s a pit!” her mother rolled her eyes. “When was the last time you cleaned up this place?”

“I have only been living here for a month, Mom.” Dorothy defended herself. “I haven’t really done any cleaning because I haven’t made so much of a mess yet.”

Her mother’s jaw dropped. “A month is a long time to be living someplace and not clean it up. I’m sure you’ve used everything in this apartment to make it messy. You mean to tell me that a ghost has been eating your food and leaving the dirty dishes in the sink? You mean to tell me that you haven’t worn any of these dirty clothes that are scattered all over the floor? You mean to tell me that all the dust around the entire apartment was already here when you moved in? If it’s not your mess, you don’t have to clean it up?”

Dorothy slowly stood up from the couch and held out her arms in defense. “Mom, calm down. I just didn’t think I really needed to clean anything up just yet, that’s all. I know it’s a bit dusty in here, but I haven’t had the money to go out and buy a vacuum. The rent has been really weighing me down.”

“Then ask for help with money.” Her mother took a deep breath and shook her head once more in disgust. “And you don’t need a vacuum in order to dust…”

“Right,” Dorothy cleared her throat and turned away in embarrassment.

“Have I taught you nothing?” her mother sighed. “I thought that you would be able to take better care of yourself and your place. I thought you would be much better off living on your own. I didn’t think that I was going to have to come by here every single weekend and help you clean the place up.”

“Who said anything about you visiting every single weekend?”

“Apparently I’m going to have to come by all the time in order to help you keep order of the place. The kitchen should always be spotless, the living room should be dust-free, your clean clothes should be pressed and hung neatly in the closet, your dirty clothes should be separated in a hamper for whites and a hamper for darks, your bed should always be made–”

“Mom,” Dorothy let out a deep breath of exasperation. “I think you’re getting a little too carried away with this. This is my house, not yours. I can have it as clean or as dirty as I want.”

Her mother lifted an eyebrow.

“Of course I would rather keep it clean than dirty,” Dorothy continued, “but lately I have been really busy between school and work to clean up the house. I go to school then go straight to work and by the time I get home, it’s past dinner. I just throw my stuff anywhere and eat while doing homework. Then I go to bed and I have to do it all over again the next morning. I just don’t have the time to really invest in cleaning the house. Plus, I don’t have the money because I make just about as much as my bills are.”

“Then I will hire you a maid.” Her mother smiled. She pushed some magazines out of the way and sat down on the couch. “Your father and I have been doing very well lately with his latest novel. We could give you money, but–”

“No,” Dorothy shook her head. “I appreciate the offer, but I don’t want you and dad to help me out with any money issues I have. I moved out to be on my own and I want to be a responsible adult.”

“Responsible adults keep their houses clean.” Her mother stated and then quickly added, “can we at least get you a maid? Then you will have some help when you need it.”

Dorothy took a deep breath. Then she slowly nodded her and head and smiled to her mother. “Yes, I think that would be alright. Maybe we can get someone to come in once a week. I can try my best to keep the place clean, but the maid can come in once a week to clean whatever I haven’t been able to get to. Or maybe the maid can just re-clean what I have done to make sure that I did it properly.”

“So it’s a deal, then?” her mother smiled. “You want to have a maid? Your father and I will pay for it. Is that okay?”

Dorothy nodded her head.

“Excellent,” her mother stood up and headed for the front door. “I’ll go home and tell your father. We’ll hire someone together. When would be a good day for you to do interviews with the potential maids?”

“How about next weekend?” Dorothy suggested.

“Wonderful!” her mother left the apartment.

Dorothy watched her mother leave and sighed. She looked around her apartment and then realized what a mess it was. She couldn’t believe that she had allowed her mother to see her house like this. Without hesitation, Dorothy began to clean.

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