“When you live in total squalor—cookies in your pants drawer, pants in your cookies drawer, and nickels, dresses, old New Yorkers, and apple seeds in your bed—it’s hard to know where to look when you lose your keys,” writes Maria Yagoda in The Atlantic.
I don’t know what prompted me to open the link, except that the story was in The Atlantic, and I love to read well-written articles. It was a piece about women with ADHD, and, based on my ability to sit still and keep quiet, I thought I had nothing to concern myself with. But I clicked anyway, and there was something about that first line that made my heart sink into my stomach. That sounds so much like me, I thought.
I often worry about dying unexpectedly. Thinking about the look of disgust burrowing under my husband’s beard as he pokes through my underwear drawer and finds candy wrappers, stray change, the decade-old diaphragm that never fit, receipts from 2010, and the newborn-sized diaper that hasn’t fit our daughter in almost five years makes my anxiety blow through the roof because I’ll have been exposed. And, yes, I’ll be dead if that happens, but I try to keep my scattered, disorderly habits hidden as best I can. Even if I am dead I still don’t want him to ever see that side of me.
If I’m completely honest with myself, he sees that side of me daily: the vacuum that has been sitting in the middle of the doorway for a week, the cabinet shelves that I never remember to close, the pens in the bathroom, the bar of soap in the guest bedroom, the laundry basket with a smattering of clean and dirty clothes, headphones, stuffed animals, and unpaid bills. And the plants, my plants, scattering their dead leaves as if to say, “Why? Why couldn’t you have taken just 10 spare seconds to keep us alive?”
I was supposed to be getting dinner started, but I had to see what this woman was talking about in her article, which was reading a little…