The curious case of domestic chores

By Amna Ameer
Fri, 05, 21

Glistening in the pale moonlight like scars from yester years, this requires unadulterated attention. Must attend to it. Must keep it away....


The clothes are piled up. Stacks of well tucked shoulders and straightened collars. Hiding away insecurities from the world under creases. Ironing one after the other. Stressing out the crinkled lies that are told in the dark. After the sunlight fades and the scent of detergent sublimes across the lounge. Now brimming with twilight. That golden hour when regrets tumble over each other. But the laundry is sorted. Just like the compartments inside the mind. Where past and present rarely entwines, yet often is mixed up in an ugly mess. Where did this stain come back from? The counters were clean a second ago? Why must the previous mistakes resurface every fortnightly? Glistening in the pale moonlight like scars from yester years, this requires unadulterated attention. Must attend to it. Must keep it away.

And so it is dealt with. Through patience and persistence. Now the evidence of any wrong doing is wiped away. It lies hidden in the wet cloth on the windowsill. The downpour of loss tugs on the shoulder of a tired body. Craving for sleep. Insomnia walks in slowly without making a noise. And the pain cloaks over like fresh wounds. Unable to hide the bleeding truths. Forgetting to tend to all on the to-do lists. Each task interrupted by blank spaces of unfathomable ache. But all is done in time. Almost actually. Eventually. Just when the thoughts boil over, it is time to fix an elaborate meal. Each condiment a manifestation of emotions. Lust, loss, pain, ache, desire, wistfulness, joy and numbness.

All hung over the rack of washed dishes. Wiped clean with soap. The water dripping like silent tears of a long night that awaits. As evening hangs over the kitchen door. Almost like a stranger. Waiting for its move. A vulnerable moment. Till it steps in through the back door, you deliberately left open. It walks in empty handed. There’s no weapon for this act of violence. A massacre of the person you once were. Your bruised skin now hangs to dry over the clothing line. Changing hues with the setting sky. Till nothing is discernible at night. And you wonder if you can tell yourself apart. From the person you were before and after wards. Though your words taste the same. And thoughts are still bound to the full moon. Like a pendulum in the drawing room clock, you stay midway. Almost reaching the end but not quite.

There’s a lot left to be done, darling. But not today.

But not today. So set the dinner table. Each plate at its place. Each glass accompanying the drink of life. Devoured in innocent oblivion. Masking away the thirst. Of answers left unquestioned. There’s still a conversation no one has. The one where they wonder: what is it that is truly meant for the heart? That fills every empty vase but never runs dry.