Shades of Blue

Last night you asked me to clean your house.

‘You need a job,’ you said.

It’s because I look for you two or three times a day while you’re occupied with other things. It’s because I’m leaving again and know what that means but cannot verbally express it.

I’m not as good with words as you assume.

It is a crisp and bright autumn morning, the air tastes like cider and smells like chimneys. It is a red/yellow-leaf-day gleaming with icicle sunshine.

I do not clean for people. I barely interact. I am certainly not domestic. The last way I would imagine spending a day is washing dishes and dusting window ledges.

I comply with your demand-shaped request. This is because I… since the day we…

On top of an empty bookshelf is a row of dusty hats. At the end of the row is a Louis Vuitton baseball cap. I put it on and pull my unwashed hair through the small opening at the back. The hat cost you $300. I am wearing four dollar camouflage pants that I bought overseas from a second-hand shop, years ago. They swirl with shades of grey and indigo. You commented on them yesterday.

‘Those are hot,’ you said rapidly adjusting your eyes from my legs to your rear-view mirror to check if the cops were following us. They had no reason to be, but it’s a habit of yours. Too many years driving with a suspended license.

I have habits. Ones you don’t realize.

Things I keep hidden.

I am organizing piles of your pocket contents scattered across a glass-top coffee table. Condoms, playing cards, matches. I come across your phone number. You’ve written it on white paper in blue gel ink, the same sort of ink that I write with. When the girl you wanted to give it to mentioned a boyfriend, you folded it out of site and stuffed it away.

I laugh and neatly place the unfolded sheet in the center of the coffee table. I offer it a reluctant second thought and realize that I actually gave you the pen you used to try and take her home with.

You’re still in bed dreaming about another woman you wish was here instead of me. I’m washing silverware and unconsciously shaking my head in silent protest.

I finish doing the dishes. I wipe down tables and countertops. I take out the garbage. I wash the windows. My attention switches to a pile of your clothing on the living room floor. I haven’t gone near it yet. I cautiously move in its direction slowed down by extra heart weight gained from the knowledge that you have no idea how out of the ordinary this is for me.

I’ll never mention it.

I reach for a blue hooded sweatshirt and feel my fingers heat before they touch the fabric. My feet take two steps back and I don’t think I can go through with this. I grab a pair of jeans instead. They’re worn and soft with the shape of your body.

I lift them from the pile and hear a jingle in the front pocket. There’s something fiercely personal about what’s in your pockets, things you store close to your body and hidden from the site of anyone else. The white corner of a small piece of paper is sticking out and I try not to imagine what the girl looked like who almost got your number that time.

I shouldn’t think things like this.

I shouldn’t be cleaning your house.

I remove the accessory from my head that’s worth quadruple the amount of what’s currently in my bank account. I pick the pile of clothing up off the floor in a single open-armed grab and drop it on your couch.

The blue sweatshirt is on top of the pile. We never go anywhere that involves clothing or outfits. We’ve never stood outside together long enough that would require any type of wardrobe consideration to manage the weather.

I drop the sweatshirt over my head and it dully hangs on my small frame. It’s scented with a garden of your cologne and perfume from girls I’m not nearly as interested in as you are.
I feel like I’m being held.

I don’t say goodbye.

I walk out the door. Underneath the bluest sky.