This post is in response to this week’s Little Red Writing Hood prompt over at The Red Dress Club. We were asked to write about sloth and I chose fiction! I’ll be honest and tell you that my inspiration was all of those Hoarders episodes I’ve watched!
A roach scurried across the the floor, inches from her feet. It stopped and looked up at her, antennae waving as if to say hello. She stomped her foot to shoo it away and it ran into a heap of stale laundry piled in the corner of the room.
She drained the last mouthful of the soda directly from the 2 liter bottle and then absent mindfully tossed it directly into the pile next to the recliner, sending the pyramid of bottles beneath it into an avalanche of plastic and sticky splatter that cascaded across the living room floor. Well, what she considered the floor, anyway.
She rolled her eyes. It didn’t matter anyway, it wasn’t like anyone was coming into the house to see what she had allowed to happen over the past few years. She carefully stood in the front door at just the right angle when people came to see her to prevent them from glimpsing what would surely result in a call to adult protective services. If she heard them pull up, heard the engine die in the drive way, she could avoid the whole song and dance and just meet them on the porch and pretend like she was going to check the mail at the precise moment when they stepped out of the car.
She sorted. How did her son not realize yet that she was supposedly checking the mail every time he came to pick her up for Thursday night bingo for the past 3 years?
Maybe that said more about what kind of son he was than anything else; he hadn’t cared to come into her home since he moved away.
Since he went to college. Since he left her. Abandoned her.
If he had stayed at home he could have continued to help her with the house and this wouldn’t have happened. If he had continued to take care of those little things like dishes and laundry and been there to haul out those heavy trash bags, well, she wouldn’t be in this situation.
A big house like that was just too much for her to handle on her own. She’d never been one for organization or cleaning. She didn’t mind a little clutter, and the roaches? Well, they were probably here way before she was and they weren’t going anywhere, no matter how much she cleaned. She made her peace with them.
At night she could hear their scratchy little feet under her bed, in the closet, sometimes she could see the outline of their little bodies on the foot board of the bed in the moonlight streaming in through the dusty windows. Sometimes it scared her, wondering if they were crawling on her with their prickly little feet while she slept. But most of the time, she just accepted that they were there and it didn’t really bother her. She didn’t feel so alone. They didn’t eat much. They appreciated all of her stuff. Even her piles of old books and newspapers – they cherished everything she cherished. They appreciated her treasures as much as she did.
She looked down and saw her house cat, Gilley, hunched over something next to her feet.
“Gilley!” She yelled at him, trying to startle him enough to back away from whatever it was.
The house cat jumped and let the rat go.
It ran into the pile of stale laundry in the corner of the room.