Chapter XXIII

So I had my very own fairy. But like any golden goose you have to be careful about sweating the asset, if you get my meaning
My sock drawer joy had me skipping to work. I would hitch up my trousers to marvel at my stockings as I entered my office. And it wasn’t just that my socks were clean and paired; they were new. Sarah held no truck with holes or any that had lost their sock mojo. There was a sock graveyard in the utility room, where she held all the orphans in a holding pen, a kind of Battersea dogs home for socks.
Sometimes, early in the morning, I would sneak down and surreptitiously rummage, looking for some old friends. Eagerly, they would jump up at me and lick my hand, desperate to avoid the recycle bag left out for the charity collection (that wasn’t really a charity). Ok maybe they didn’t actually jump up at me, but these little chaps were another reminder of my bachelor days: a time of confusion, mess, smells and disorder – the single straight man’s natural state of being.
Once Sarah caught me with a hand full of orphans. I put them behind my back and pretended to examine the settings on the washing machine. Of course she knew I was up to something.
“Either pair them, or chuck them out.”
Then she looked down. I was wearing two of them. And worst of all, not only were they not twins, they weren’t even brothers, not even kissing cousins, in fact they weren’t even related. Most outrageous of all, they weren’t even from the same continent. The left one was European Caucasian, the right was of South East Asian extraction.
Now, as a statement of racial harmony, it was bold, courageous even. But from a house keeping point of view, it was a disaster.
“What are you wearing? Listen Tom, am I just wasting my time?”
“Not at all darling, I appreciate all you’re doing for me.”
“Do you? Well come with me then.”
Meekly, I trotted upstairs to the bedroom where Sarah promptly opened my drawers (no, not….oh please).
“There.What’s that?
I was staring at my stuff. I wasn’t entirely sure hat she wanted me to say
“Yeah, there’s my boxers, there’s my socks, there’s my gym stuff….. what about it?
“Look at it Tom, all muddled up in a big mess, you just rummage through it all and leave me to sort it all out again, whats’ s the point of me trying to keep everything nice if you’re just going to balls it all up again?”
Do you ever regret saying something? Do you ever wish you could push words back into you mouth as soon as you’ve said them?
I was once at a works christmas do and I did this fantastic impression of a guy from the stores who had a fantastically impenetrable stutter. I looked up and no one was laughing. He was standing behind me.
So there she was, staring at my clothes, chaos where there had been order, indignantly wondering why she was getting the mick taken out of her. Then I said it.
“Well’ I never asked you to tidy my shit.”
Writing that line makes me, even after the passage of time, wince.
Sarah gave me a Oh, so we’re on that bus are we? look. I opened my mouth to speak and this time I was stuttering for real.
“What I mean is of course I want you to do that, I mean, what I’m tryin to say is…
But Sarah wasn’t going to listen to anymore of it. She stormed off. I tried to rescue the situation with my last throw of the dice.
“But darling, you are the fairy
I don’t think I’ve ever heard Sarah say anything with as much anger as what she said next. She turned around, gave me a withering look and hissed –
“I dont want to be a fairy!”

Silence. What to say next? There was nothing else to do but giggle. All was nearly forgiven.
To this day my sock drawer is still a mess. She still, on occasion , gives it a little tidy.

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