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Floss. -Mary Schmich



The grey case.


It was a grey suitcase, well traveled, but packed now for a different purpose.
In the corner, it sat, not taking up too much room. Not too far from the bedroom door.


She stared at it. It was worn, some would think a little tired.
Could she really do it? What would everyone say?

She had tried to fit her Royal Doulton old country rose’s teapot in the case, but it didn’t really suit the dramatic slamming of the door she had planned. So she returned it carefully to the pride of place position of her display cabinet, in amongst the other collectibles and chachka’s.
The museum, her granddaughter had named it, many years ago.

It had become the good natured family joke; a private, shared part of their family history.

Gran’s museum.

She used to feel like the curator, but now she felt like one of the exhibits. A tired, tethered display. One that museum goers would pass by quickly, slightly embarrassed, or uninterested and bored. They would say “gee that needs a bit of updating,” “hmm” another one would agree.


In the mornings she would smooth the covers of the floral bedspread and sit on the edge of the bed- spying on his reflection in the ensuite mirror as he brushed his teeth.

One small squeeze of Sensodyne on his always blue medium bristle tooth brush. Twenty-six brushes sideways. Twenty-six brushes up and down. Twenty-six brushes along the surface of the molars. He turned on the faucet briefly as he spat the foam clear from his mouth. Rinse and spit. Rinse and spit.

Then he opened the dental floss. He pulled a strand from the pack holding the little plastic box in one hand and winding the lose end around the knuckles of the other.  He always started at the back sweeping between each tooth methodically.

Flossing always took five minutes and twenty-three seconds.  


Sometimes she would unpack the suitcase and repack it with all of his things.

Shoes, socks, underwear.  Shirts, ties, trousers.

Then some thermals, because, well, the weather was changing. And maybe, yes probably, he would need his golfing shoes and his lucky golfing hat, and a tracksuit, his runners.

But as she was folding the tracksuit she noticed a smear of mustard, most likely grey poupon, right near the zippered collar. That will need treating she thought and she carried it to the laundry room.

In between Sarding and scrubbing she stopped.
It’s no use she thought.

My marriage has become a habit.


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