“I wish you’d clean up your desk,” he said as he passed by to gaze at the french doors, beyond which his teenaged son slept. “It smells. You’ve sneezed on it."
She looked around, horrified that she could be working in such filth. It was entirely possible because she tended to forget about time and place when she wrote. But no. There was no half-empty coffee cup with cream gone off. There was a box that contained the startup disks for the Mac and the lid was off. There were photographs set aside for scanning, a pair of reading glasses, and his golf tournament trophy - what was that doing here? And there was the EI envelope that served as a coaster for her fresh coffee. Perhaps that was it. She smiled at her own cleverness.
There was a pen with a liquid tip that smelled like a stationery store, all crisp with hints of possibly dangerous chemicals that promised industry. He would like that scent. In fact, if one could package the smell of pointless industry in a bottle, the man would bathe in it. There was a bottle of nail polish, Berry Delicious, but it was tightly closed.
Her creative corner was offensive to him. She sighed. Sometimes creativity was offensive. It’s just the way things work.
He was in the adjoining room now, sitting on the couch that had always been hers with his notebook on his lap. He’d taken up residence there for the past couple of days, like an animal marking territory. The fan was parked three feet away, oscillating lazily back and forth, moving the humid air directly at him. He sneezed again.
“It’s your cat. Look at her sitting there with all that fur. No wonder.”
She looked over her shoulder to find the cat watching her with huge saucer eyes. He had picked up this strange little calico a couple of years ago at the animal shelter before they'd moved in together. She wondered when the cat had become hers.
“Bless you, again.”
Cleanliness is next to Godliness. No one likes a slovenly girl. If you keep on writing like that, they’ll put you away, you know. Her mother’s voice was haunting her more and more these days.
She got up and went to the kitchen for the spray bottle. The cleaner smelled like parsley and she liked it. She took her time, polishing the external hard drive to a nice sheen before returning the bottle to its place under the sink.
“That smells good, eh.” He said it more as a statement than as a question. He was making a ham and cheese sandwich and noted they were almost out of mayonnaise.
“Yes, it does,” she said. She got another cup of coffee as he coughed all over the cutting board.
This time, bless you was not in order so she said nothing.