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(A short story of 2142 words)

Bin Day


by Wendy Gill

A woman in a controlling marriage is liberated by an unfortunate turn of events.

I have my routine… Wednesdays, I dust and do the midweek wash. Thursdays is market day; I take the bus into town and shop for the week. Fridays, I bake and prepare food for the weekend. Weekends used to be busy. When Samantha was younger the three of us used to go for days out, a picnic in the park, a trip to the zoo. She was all blue eyes and blonde curls then. And her clothes were pink, she wouldn't wear anything else. As a teenager, it was black, her whole wardrobe. Now at weekends I usually potter around the garden. Samantha's out a lot. And I'm not sure what Tom does half the time, apart from taking all day to read The Sunday Times. Mondays, I strip the beds, clean the bathroom and the kitchen, but Tuesdays are my favourite; bin day. I wait for Tom and Samantha to leave the house and I hoover; the whole place, from top to bottom, emptying the bins from each room as I go. When I hoover, I tune into the sound of the bits of dirt as they are sucked along the aluminium tube. I find it satisfying, comforting. Like listening to rain. Dry rain.
That Tuesday, I started in Samantha's room. Her room is always a challenge; discarded garments, shoes. Used tissues and make up wipes surround the bin. Every surface cluttered like a beach in Benidorm.'

‘I don't like coming into your room,’ I tell her. ‘It's like an obstacle course, I don't know how you can sleep in here.’

‘CBA, Mum,’ she says. ‘You're OCD. A clean house is a life wasted.’

That morning, when I finished her room, I took the hoover and her bin to empty into the wheelie bins. As usual, I sorted the rubbish; plastics into brown, cardboard into green, paper into blue and general rubbish into black. But, the black bin was missing; the third time in as many months. Twice before, I'd complained to the council and ended up having to pay forty pounds for a replacement. Things have changed in our street. There was a time when I knew everybody. Not now...

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