Love in the time of laundry

February 13th, 2008

Dear Cupid:

I’ve been out of touch for a while. I used to imagine you, worship you, and cry my eyes out for you every day. But that was before you left for the last time.

I’ve learned a lot about myself since you’ve been gone. I admit I’ve changed. I learned, for instance, that there is a time and season for everything. There’s a time for flirting with that cute waiter at the breakfast place even though he’s 10 years younger, doesn’t own a car, needs to borrow money and he’ll pay you back this time for sure. A time for composing all-night sonnets to the old high-school heartthrob who doesn’t realize he’s just using you to get over his divorce. There is a time for booking a first-class ticket to spend a romantic weekend, at your own expense, with the handsome stranger who will one day soon drive down from Denver, move into your house, barely ever get out of bed, never get another job, and tell you everything that’s wrong with you and your life before he moves out again.

Then there’s a time to sort the whites from the colors.

I’ve learned, too, that men are from Mars and women are from Venus. That Mars can be light-years away from clearing the dinner dishes from the table, putting the shoes in the closet, and making the coffee in the morning, but that Mars is nearly always inches away from a flat screen.

The washer and dryer are on Venus.

I’ve seen and felt my share of love. In some ways, I consider myself an expert. I’ve seen a man’s face tremble in awe and, yes, fear, as I walked down an aisle toward him. I’ve seen a man weep at the sight of his baby girl. I’ve seen the walls quake and the floor tilt with the immensity of our anger, then fall instantly still with an apology. I’ve seen an entire home built and rebuilt on love alone, sometimes in a single day.

I’ve seen the washer overflow and the fuse short out.

Love comes into my life everyday now, Cupid. It comes in denim, khaki, in cotton underwear, in hand wash, machine wash and rarely, rarely in dry clean only. It comes in dainty piles of pink and purple, and massive stacks of towels and sheets. Love comes by the basketful in my house, Cupid, but it doesn’t come from you. It never did.

Dear Cupid: I’m into my third load today, but I’m just not that into you.

Inspired just in time for Happy Valentine’s and another lovely group writing project at Between the Lines.


  1. This is terrific. You have forever altered my relationship to laundry.

    Comment by Jena Strong — February 13, 2008 @ 5:19 pm

  2. There’s a fantastic book title:

    After the ecstasy, the laundry.

    The book is about Buddhist practice over a lifetime, but the phrase is applicable to so much. Love and kids not least.

    Comment by Chris Austin-Lane — February 13, 2008 @ 6:25 pm

  3. Another hit out of the ballpark! I love this. Especially how Mars is always near the Flat Screen. I thought that was only at my house. Apparently not. Thanks so much for contributing. What fun!

    Comment by Shawn — February 13, 2008 @ 6:34 pm

  4. Love this.

    Comment by denise — February 13, 2008 @ 7:20 pm

  5. This post goes to show that the book title Chris Austin-Lane referenced doesn’t get it exactly right. It’s not that the ecstasy comes after the laundry…it’s that the laundry is ecstasy. If you embrace the mundane details of your daily life, including things like laundry & fights with your spouse, then those too become “ecstasy.”

    It’s a point I’ve made myself, but I think you do a better job with it!

    Comment by Lorianne — February 13, 2008 @ 7:45 pm

  6. Chris, you are so right that is a fantastic title. And Lorianne you are so right, the title gets it all wrong. And Shawn, I hope to hit this ball all the way back home again very soon. Thanks for throwing to my sweet spot.

    Comment by Karen — February 13, 2008 @ 9:55 pm

  7. I love love love this. You are a great writer, and I so appreciate your honesty.

    Comment by Shelli — February 14, 2008 @ 3:05 am

  8. One of your very best! I keep trying to break up with that Cupid but he still hangs around. I think he’s stalking me. His balloons and candies and cheap stuffed animals made me cry today in the Macy’s parking lot.
    Well, I’m off to do some laundry, which, come to think of it, I really like to do.

    Comment by spielbee — February 14, 2008 @ 3:24 am

  9. Wow. That was really perfect. I absolutely felt the forward motion. Loving it. And, I’m even staring down a basket of laundry as I type.

    Comment by liv — February 14, 2008 @ 3:55 am

  10. This is wonderful Karen. As always, just what I need.

    I’m just not that into him either.

    Comment by Lisa — February 14, 2008 @ 10:05 pm

  11. Brilliant. A joy to read and to think about. You’ve the kind of lines in here that make me wish I’d written them. But of course I couldn’t and that’s okay. Point is though, it’s very good.

    Comment by marta — February 15, 2008 @ 4:59 am

  12. I think that we dated some of the same guys!

    But love is doing the laundry. And, putting the seat down without comment. And all of the other things that would make an incredibly boring romance novel.

    Comment by Mama Zen — February 15, 2008 @ 5:15 am

  13. this may be my favorite thing you’ve written here.
    it is always the laundry.

    Comment by bella — February 15, 2008 @ 3:47 pm

  14. Fantastic. And lovely. And hilarious. As always.

    sw’vvvvvvvvvvvdsss vs’;v kl vs

    And that was from Harry.

    Comment by Girl con Queso — February 16, 2008 @ 2:51 pm

  15. this just made me so happy this fall morning, two years past its creationdate. thanks.
    good work.

    Comment by wifemotherexpletive — October 25, 2009 @ 12:42 pm

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