While washing dishes

It’s ironic that something as mundane as washing dishes would summarize a tumultuous seven years in such a violent, sudsy clatter.

At mediation, when my soon-to-be ex-husband demands I return the ring, I whisper to my lawyer about the broken garbage disposal.

Joshua’s razor-sharp hearing picks up on my words immediately. Funny how he couldn’t put that superpower to use when I listed for him the things he needed to do to save our marriage.

Number 1 was Don’t fuck your secretary.

“You lost it on purpose,” he scoffs.

“I didn’t feel the ring slip off my finger.”

“And I suppose it’s my fault you never got it resized.”

“Silly me for expecting the man I’d been in a relationship with for half my life to know my ring size.” Twelve years of dating and seven years married, and he still can’t stand my sarcasm. I lean back in my chair satisfied that I’ve gotten under his skin.

“Did you even try to look for it?” he asks.

“Yes, I stuffed my whole fist into the tiny hole. You know what that feels like, right?” It was the exact position I found him in when I stopped by his office for a surprise lunch date, the secretary spread eagle on his desk.

Of the three of us, only the secretary was surprised.

“Let’s stay on task, please,” the mediator says, rubbing his eyes under his glasses. We’ve been at this for weeks, and we’re no closer to reaching a resolution now than we were when we first began the process.

It’s Joshua’s fault. He keeps adding things that shouldn’t even be on the table. Why should I give him the ring when it was his actions that dissolved our marriage? And if he is to succeed in his pursuit to get the house, I’ll need that ring to be able to afford a place to live!

“I told you I never wanted that garbage disposal installed!” I blurt out. “I watch too many horror movies.” My marriage was a horror. It took me 19 years to realize I was with a man who never respected me, who would add another dish caked with dried up marinara sauce to the sink after watching me clean the kitchen for 20 minutes. He’s destroyed my dignity, my self-worth and still isn’t satisfied. He wishes to take the last of what I own to complete the looting of my heart.

He would’ve loved it if my fear of a phantom garbage disposal suddenly switching on with my hand still inside had come true—shredded flesh and blood splatter spraying the dishes I’d just cleaned drying on the rack.

All for the twinkle of a half-carat diamond caught in a black abyss.

“Tell you what,” I say. “If you get the house, you can have the ring. If you can find it.”

But I will fight tooth and nail to keep this roof over my head, and when the divorce is finalized and he’s the one left with nothing, I’m ripping that goddamn garbage disposal out with my bare fucking hands.

© 2023 Nortina Simmons

It’s StoryADay May! I’m not promising that I will write a story every day this month, but I’m going to try. Today’s prompt is “Write a scene in which a character is looking for something or someone that has been lost.”


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