beans, plates and casting on by ingridfnl

10 Jan

wool“It was your idea to get married,” she said, almost accusingly, then “I wish I’d loved you,” with incongruous gentleness. After fifteen years of marriage, he’d contested nothing and she’d taken everything: from the colorful afghan he’d crocheted for their anniversary to the dishes his mother left him. And Hammond found himself feeling surprising relieved. He’d never liked those dishes and was somehow glad that she’d wanted the afghan.

To replace the missing dishes, he bought a setting for eight. Newly single, Hammond initially had images of hosting singles parties where they would sit around a large welcoming table filled with wine bottles and delicious food brought by women he met in grocery stores in the produce section. He would also invite buddies he met at the gym and they would joke loudly and with manly confidence. Everyone there would regale each other with tales of the single life and of how happy they were to remove “that ball and chain”. They would speak of their exes with a mixture of spite and longing but mostly relief. Some of them would get lucky after an evening of tantalizing flirting but all, he and his new found friends, would leave happy and fulfilled. They would see Hammond’s place as a new hang out. He would no longer find time to crochet due to his busy social life.

In reality, by the end of his first week living on his own the eight place settings — all of the dishes, bowls and cups — collected on the floor beside the Lazy Boy. The chair sat directly in front of the television, lonely in the room, and the dishes slowly merged together with gummy food remnants. The only voices were those of television sitcom laughter and talk show advice. And Hammond began crocheting a black scarf.

This reclining chair became Hammond’s small world where he ate, watched and more often than not, fell asleep. Somehow he wasn’t motivated to meet women in grocery stores, join the gym or host dinner parties. Mostly, he felt lost and cut off from his best memories with his ex-wife. He missed her and hated her all at once.

Out of necessity, he found himself washing only one dish, one set of cutlery and one glass. The rest of the dishes remained a chair-side statue dedicated to his sadness–the sadness of that first week alone. This went on for some time. Longer than you’d think: long enough for small collections of dust to form in the corners of the room, long enough for Hammond to have bought a TV tray and invest in a large flat-screen television, long enough for the chair to have formed a neat groove where Hammond’s rear rested for hours of every day, and long enough for the scarf to reach five metres in length.

Two years, three months, eleven days and five hours after she told him she no longer loved him, and Hammond stirred the beans around the pot with a spoon and decided that he would throw out the dishes and move to paper plates. But then he also thought maybe he should buy a table and hide the scarf.


8 Responses to “beans, plates and casting on by ingridfnl”

  1. jadamthwaite January 10, 2010 at 9:37 pm #

    Wow – our Hammonds were kind of similar – although totally different at the same time! This is lovely and so sad.

    • ingridfnl January 10, 2010 at 9:39 pm #

      you know, i thought so too… especially in their sadness and helplessness… i really loved reading all of the entries for the nuances and feelings that they shared and the ones that differed too…

  2. typicalquirk January 10, 2010 at 11:21 pm #

    I agree. There was a similarity. I loved the writing about the dishes. It is amazing how picturing these objects can make you feel so sad. Loved it!

    • ingridfnl January 16, 2010 at 9:23 pm #

      thank you šŸ™‚ i think that we leave a trail of detritus in our lives that symbolizes our mentality…

  3. eli January 11, 2010 at 7:09 am #

    You described the deterioration very well. Sad story, but the ending makes up for it.

    • ingridfnl January 16, 2010 at 9:24 pm #

      šŸ™‚ i had to force myself into a happier ending, but was satisfied since i felt his time of mourning felt clear.

  4. phoenix.writing January 16, 2010 at 8:39 pm #

    I love the image of the 5-metre scarf and cringe a little at the dish monument. The determination at the end makes me hopeful. ^_^

    • ingridfnl January 16, 2010 at 9:24 pm #

      i contemplated making the the scarf longer… šŸ˜‰

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