Strange, the wall looks exactly the same as it did five minutes ago. No change whatsoever. You’d think scenery would have the decency to change now and then. Kaye closed her eyes. Why not, her eyelids didn’t look any different either. Stupid things stayed exactly the same no matter how long she stared at them. Well, the weird light explosions changed but who cared? She didn’t. Oh, no, Kaye did not care at all.
She glanced at the clock. Wow. Three whole minutes had passed. Nice. That had been the longest time passage aside from impromptu naps. Kaye eyed the bottle of Vicodin. Despite doctor’s and Jacob’s orders, she’d been avoiding it in a plague-like manner, but the pain was killing her– or maybe it was the boredom.
The front door opened and her mother breezed into the entryway carrying Sophie. “Lookie, Sophie darling, there’s Mommy!”
Her baby girl toddled to her, begging to climb up on Kaye’s lap. “What’d you do this morning? Did you and Grandma go to the park?”
“I’ll just go do the breakfast dishes while you guys snuggle. Call me if you need anything.”
Kaye’s heart sank again. “Thanks, Mom.”
Sophie wedged herself between Kaye and the couch and promptly fell asleep. The sounds of clanking dishes were followed by the familiar hum of the dishwasher and the click-clack of the mop on the floor. This was her fault. Every bit of it. If I hadn’t been so obsessed with getting everything organized, I wouldn’t be in this mess. I deserve it for being such a freak about my house. Why can’t I ever be balanced about anything?
The thoughts tumbled over and over as her mother worked around her house, picking up the boys’ toys and clothes, running a load of laundry, and cleaning bathrooms. Each task was further guilt piled on her until Kaye was near tears just thinking about it. There was nothing she could do about it– nothing she could say. Her strict orders were to keep her foot elevated until further notice. That left little for her to do but watch unedifying television or contemplate the beauty of her ceilings– and two marvelous cobwebs she’d missed.
The phone rang. Habits die hard, and Kaye started to jump up to get it, but her mother’s voice reminded her that she wasn’t supposed to go dashing after phone calls– boredom notwithstanding. Settling back into her personal pity party, her mother’s words stunned her. “Oh, Jacob, the work has been so simple. All that organization has really paid off. I can find where things are, where they should go– everything.” Silence usurped her listening enjoyment until Kaye thought she’d go crazy, but again she heard words that soothed her spirit. “Oh, that’s ridiculous. She could have done the same thing when she went to get the ham out of the freezer to cook it. Things happen. Why, my Aunt Dee dropped a roll of frozen sausage on her big toe once and we all heard the crack.”
Relieved, Kaye missed the rest of the conversation. Maybe it wasn’t so bad after all. Mom was right. The same thing could have happened regardless of when or why. Oh, how she wanted to grab a book to read and soothe her spirits, but she’d left them beside her bed. Penance for being obsessive.
Jacob found her there on the couch when he came in from work, sleeping with an almost finished copy of The Minimalist’s Bible nearly falling from her fingers. The peaceful look he was accustomed to seeing on her face was clouded by a brow furrowed in pain and intermittent twitches anytime she attempted to move her leg. A crushed foot. Anger welled up in his heart until he remembered his mother-in-law’s reminder that anyone can drop a ham– not just someone bent on having the most orderly freezer on the planet. The moment the words entered his thoughts, he regretted them. Kaye wasn’t doing anything to be selfish– not really. And, if (Mom’s name) was right, the hard work might have paid off. It seemed too much to ask their mothers to take over their household for a while, but what else could they do? She’d broken phalanges, metatassels or something like that, and he couldn’t remember what all. The doctor had joked that she’d tried to break every bone in her foot and failed– barely. Until the bones did their fusing thing, the doctor wanted her off her feet as much as possible. There was no way she could chase a lively baby and keep up with the meals and house and stay off her feet. Not possible.
He slid the Minimalist book out from under her fingers and searched for something to use as a bookmark. Kaye preferred to remember page numbers, but he couldn’t do it. An advertisement from the Reader’s Digest would work. As he inserted it into the page, something caught his eye. Tired, he sank into the chairs and let his eyes roam over the pages, skipping here, reading there, until he found himself growing irritated. What kind of nonsense was she reading. Simplicity is a spiritual experience. By reducing your possessions, you release the hold that material things have on you and open your soul to depths of inner peace you didn’t know you could achieve.
“Garbage,” he muttered.
A quarter of an inch of book turned back as he looked for a new section to peruse. Surely the whole thing wasn’t full of such ridiculous nonsense. To achieve a minimalist’s quality of life, one must not become an ascetic. However, the minimalists aesthetic will often leave that impression in the minds of those who do not understand the beauty and tranquility that can be achieved by eschewing excess.
Disgusted, Jacob growled at the book. “Define excess.”
Why he continued to look, Jacob didn’t know. He skipped pages from here to there, searching for something that didn’t nauseated him. At last he found it. Choosing to imitate another’s path of simplicity will only leave you feeling empty and will likely frustrate the important people who share your life.
“Got that right.”
“What, Jacob?” Kaye’s eyes blinked open reluctantly.
“I just found a good quote in this book and was agreign with it. there, that was true anyway.
“Did you? which one. So far, thta book has been exactly what it preaches against– excess verbiage, excess planning, excess judgmentalism, excess simplicity… I didn’t know it had a good statement.”
“Well, I skipped back a ways, so maybe you didn’t like it, but I loved the part about not imitating someone else’s “path to simplicity” or you’ll irritate people.”
“Hmm… didn’t see that. I agree. I mean, look at how much of a mess I made with this– and I wasn’t imitating anyone. Can you imagine how frustrating it would be on top of it all?”
“You must have missed it. It was several chapters back.”
Her face reddened a little. “I wasn’t reading it through. I skipped ten times what i read. Garbage.”
“That was my first word. Garbage.”
Laughing, Kaye stretched, her foot screaming in protest. “Do you find it at all odd that the book that touts itself as a “Minimalist’s Bible” is just the opposite in regards to words? This is the most verbose, excessively loquacious, piece of ridiculousness I’ve ever read. Talk about a waste of money.”
“Well, they’re just trying to make sure that you are being honest and consistent. You can’t eliminate half your possessions in the home without eliminating fifty-percent of your bank account too!”
“Sick how true that really is. It’s just sick.”
I’ll be back with more after I get some sleep. I’ll repost so you know when it’s up. As for now, g’night.