It was an egregious act of a desperate woman.
When the priest said for better or worse I had no way of knowing just how bad it would get before I committed the ultimate act of betrayal. Fifteen years! Fifteen years I’d given this man. So I felt entitled. Empowered. And certainly not regretful.
Like many others, I didn’t mean to do it. I’m a good person. I vote! I pay my taxes! I don’t even jaywalk. But the man cold sent husband to bed unexpectedly one day. He snored softly, paralyzed by an over-the- counter elixir. I left him to his sweet, pharmaceutical slumber, when the trash bag I’d been filling in the bathroom beckoned.
I clutched the bag, ready to go downstairs. But then in my line of sight, flung haphazardly on the edge of the tub, there it was— mocking me. THE hoodie. Oh, I resented it. I resented its fraying neck and faded, unraveling letters. I resented every single mystery stain that was seemingly impenetrable by every brand of laundry detergent sold in the continental US. Glowering at my prey, I moved like a one woman Swat team.
In one fell swoop it was in the trash, relegated to the same status as a used Q-tip. Seven years of dump runs, yard work, Red Sox games, splattered beers and dreams….gone in a fit of blind fury.
The exhilaration in knowing that it could never hurt me again fed my soul.
But I didn’t just do it for me.
I did it for every woman powerless to stop her spouse from running errands in foul, filthy, sports team attire. I did it for every newly married gal who held her breath wondering WHO might have spied her husband in all his hobo attired glory but who remained silent for fear of hurting her husband’s feelings! (I had those once. Amazing what sweatshirt rage will do to dull your heart.)
Unlike a woman whose pride dictates she duck behind the cheese case if she dashes out looking disheveled, men who venture out boldly and without shame in perma-stained hoodies would think nothing of bear hugging the PTA mom, the Pope, or the President in aisle nine.
The next day perusing the Tarjay ad like the rest of the innocents, I’d almost forgotten all about my crime. My inexperience at being a calculated criminal would soon be revealed.
The translucent trash bag—I’d left it slumped in the corner of the bathroom. Rookie.
“JANET! You waited! You waited til I was totally incapacitated!”
“Yes I did!” I roared without contrition.
“Til death do us part”, he said. It’s not my fault the priest didn’t expressly mention death by hoodie.