The next day I’m a sad sight to behold as we traipse down to the loading dock. She has commandeered two large, wheeled laundry tubs. Mine supports my full weight and I propel it along with one foot. Due to poor steering I manage to crash into a door jamb and end up sprawled inside. It isn’t funny, even if Kristine almost wets herself with glee.
A dropped tailgate and resulting tidal wave of clothes and junk greet us at the dock. My drunken reversing has amalgamated the mess into an interlaced pile of cloth, metal and plastic.
I begin by grabbing an armful of various items, working systematically from the outer edge of the explosion. My method is quickly judged as unacceptable.
“Not that! I want those vases, that dress, don't put those tins of oil in there! That stuff can come up later. That’s expensive, fold it, don’t crush...”
There’s a lot more ‘don’t’s’ and ‘be careful’s’.
I switch off and do as I’m told, dumping load after load in our lounge room until the pile gets out of hand. Kristine stays behind to sort it out while I slowly continue the drudgery of further deliveries.
Kristine enjoys days of pleasurable rediscovery as the things she’d snatched in the heat of a shopping frenzy are unearthed. For her, pain is forgotten in the excitement of owning her most deeply desired items. For me, pain accumulates from the hard labour of shuffling her crap into the homes she deems appropriate.
I medicate myself into a robot-like state that Kristine takes full advantage of. In fact its two days before the brow-beating I’m subjected to penetrates. I snap out of it when I find myself searching for some sort of specific cosmetic under her direction.
“Hey! What the hell am I doing? Why am I searching for a puce lipstick in a white gold holder? Men aren’t even supposed to know what colour puce is.”
“I showed you on the colour chart. Besides it’s part of a set.”
Only a woman could know a single lipstick is missing out of four cubic metres of hastily gathered goods.
“Sorry lady, this forklift has run out of gas. You’re on your own. I’m having a beer.”
She scowls, but I’ve been shrewd enough to hide a few of the more expensive looking items as I’d worked. I’ll conveniently ‘find’ them later and get myself back in her good books.
Before I leave I see one item that stands alone on the coffee table that needs immediate attention. The infamous wok. It sits there like a prisoner in the dock awaiting sentencing. I reach for it, intending to throw it away, concerned about the memories attached. Kristine takes it from me and turns it in her hands.
“We should toss it.”
“Nah. I need a wok, and I’ve already tested this one.”
Her eyes glaze slightly, and a crazed smirk is supressed as quickly as it rises. Catching her minds’ display sends a shiver down my spine, and I feel an unhealthy attraction to that crazy streak she’s developing. My lust is cooled as I consider the rest of her ‘untested’ cookware. I hope she doesn’t get the urge to assess those on me.
Kristine’s new belongings include a load of toys and games from the mall’s toyshop. I fear she’ll use them to prove her superiority over me, which I will counter by cheating. The arguments this will inevitably cause are put on hold while she busies herself redecorating the place. I quietly approve her choices of red satin, lace and velvet curtains. It makes the place looks like a French whorehouse; a judgment I keep to myself.
She models clothes expecting my approval, and chides my lack of fashion sense when I conclude anything that covers more than three centimetres of her skin is a waste of cloth.
Kristine uses the gym equipment downstairs to break the stiffness from her joints while I coddle mine with sloth. She limbers up quickly and is soon is in fine form whereas I am content to cover the soreness of slowly healing muscle with drugs. I fail to see how jogging, and lifting weights can cause less pain than I currently feel anyway.