A mop. My eyes caught sight of a mop. A mop with a long yellow handle.
It reminded me of all the hours I had spent cleaning your floor. I suddenly pictured myself bent over, trying to cover every inch: those tricky corners, the dusty panels under the heavy orange couch, the space covered by your LaZboy. I remembered all the sneezes I sneezed whenever I inhaled the dust that had accumulated. I allowed myself to recall the smell of the solution I loved to use to erase the stubborn stains you kept leaving on the floor: soy sauce/ketchup/shoe wax.
I recalled how you would beam with pride each time I finished.
I always did a good job. I always left the floor shiny/stain-free/smelling of fresh pine.
You used to apologize for making me do it. I used to say it was all okay. I meant it. Back then, I really did not mind.
A mop. That was all it took. A mop with a long yellow handle leaning against a dusty trash bin outside my favorite coffee shop.
The sight of it shook me to my very core.
It reminded me of that night. How I never questioned anything. How I sat there dumbfounded. Shaking internally- not wanting you to see yet somehow wishing you would.
We were both slumped over. On the floor. The very same floor I kept shiny/stain-free/smelling of pine.
I didn’t question. You didn’t dare offer an explanation. We stared at each other. not saying anything. Because it was not easy. And at that point, it was not necessary.
At that point, we both knew wewere no longer shiny/stain-free/smelling of fresh pine.
All I said right then was, “I literally cleaned up your shit.”
Yes. Aside from your floor, I cleaned up your shit, too. Literally and otherwise. Youknow that to be true. You even nodded your head.
when I saw that mop, everything came rushing back to me. The dust. The stains. The smell of fresh pine. The sneezes. You and I. on the floor.
That same mop made me realize I have my own floor to sweep. I have my own little area which I need to keep shiny/stain-free/smelling of pine.
No one could possibly imagine the amount of dust that has accumulated over the past ten years/the stains that have hardened so much they’re almost fossils/the smell of dead critters I swept under the rug.
when I saw that mop, I found my resolve.
I will start cleaning my own floor:
my own tricky corners/my own dusty panels/the space covered by my own couch.
And if I ever sneeze in the process, I would smile knowing it was own dust that caused it.
I will make my floor shiny/stain-free/smelling of pine in no time.
I will sit in the middle and beam with pride.