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Rated: E · Short Story · Psychology · #2311024
When enough is enough. Leeann and Tim have a mostly one-sided discussion.
Leeann collapsed on the recliner, pushing up the footrest, and contemplated her next move. The ultimatum was thrown down by her husband Tim before he abruptly left to move crop irrigation lines. She replayed the conversation in her mind.

“I love you, Leeann," he started. "There is no question about that. We can’t go on living like this. I know when it started. You wanted to start a collection of that Pioneer Woman stuff. The dishes. I thought that was nice. Then you started adding pieces. They filled the cupboard. We never used them, not once! Why did you buy them then? Why? I can’t believe I let this happen. Why do we need four sets of everything? Pot holders. Silverware. You name it, we don’t use it. And the piles of plastic containers filled with stuff. Leeann, you are obsessed with saving things. I don’t think you have thrown away anything since you were a teenager. They are just things. Look over here! Why do you need a dozen of those miniature tea sets? They do nothing but gather dust, Leeann. Dust! For what? To look at? To crowd the shelves? I remember when one storage box appeared in the living room. Then more. Leeann, you can’t keep doing this!”

He paused briefly to breathe. She looked at him incredulously. He was beyond angry. His voice was raised decibels louder than she ever heard in their four years of marriage.

He was yelling now. “I told you then how much that bothered me. I continued to tell you more times than I can count. I don’t think you hear me. Part of the reason I fell in love with you, Leeann, was the way you kept your mother’s house when you lived at home. You took such pride. It was clean and organized. Nothing was out of place and certainly there was not one inch of clutter.”

His tone was dripping with disgust. How did he put up with the clutter turned hoard, he thought. He saw the small path to get from the front door through the living room, hallway to the kitchen, not to even begin to explain the dining room that had not been used since their first Thanksgiving.

“I’m sorry, Tim. I am working on it. I have given away large bags of clothes and shoes. There are mementos I need to keep, though, the things that bring back good memories.” He was making the same old complaints while she was defending her actions. They had mild forms of this conversation many times. Leeann would get worked up, cry uncontrollably, and nothing got done. If anything, it got worse.

“Everything you ever brought in this house has a good memory attached to it. Nothing ever goes back out. You have the bassinet you slept in as a baby!" He shook his head and looked at her with a new resolve.

“It is going to stop! Stop this very week! Get rid of it by Sunday or I will take it all to the dump. Period! This is not up for discussion.” His bright red face was the cue to let him go out and cool off.

“I will try, Tim,” she promised.

“You won’t try, Leeann. You will do it. Just do it, Leeann! Think about us. We can’t invite anyone to our house. There is no place to sit. The things you throw away will be forgotten in no time. Get rid of it. I don’t care what you do with it, just get it out of here. Sunday, Leeann. Six days, period! Understood?”

He didn’t wait for a reply and left slamming the door behind him. No one had to tell her what was obvious. She called her girlfriend Roberta explaining what was going on. She told her everything this time. Roberta was empathetic and said she would drive down in the morning. “Whatever it takes, Leeann. We will get it done and get it done by Sunday. Don’t worry, I will be there and help.” With that they said goodbye and Leeann was left alone.

Yes, she had made a promise. She hoped she could do it. She picked up the television remote. She positioned herself to be able to see part of the television screen from her chair. She would think about it tomorrow.

Word count 718
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