We are not one of those couples. I just don’t know if we will ever be ready for a house.
The light went out in the bathroom two weeks ago. When it happened, we looked at one another, scratching our heads like apes that were given a pair of roller skates. We took the light cover off to see what was inside and then we decided to call it a night. The next day we maneuvered around the light. Sebastien bathed in the dark and I helped out with any missed spots from his shave. I did my makeup while looking at my reflection in the microwave (our only mirror is in the bathroom) and hoped for the best when it came to matching my outfit. Finding my daily vitamin or lip gloss in the medicine cabinet was a bit of a trick, though, because the cabinet is such a dark, cavernous place to begin with. When I reached in I didn’t know if I was grabbing toothpaste or fungal cream. I resorted to pulling out a number of items in one fell swoop. Aspirin, nail files, lipgloss and various perfumes came crashing out onto the bath mat. I sifted through the pile, plucked out what I needed and shoved the rest back into the abyss. (Messy cabinets are a pet peeve of mine, but since I couldn’t see anything, it was like the mess wasn’t there.)
On the third day, I went out and bought a candle. It took us another day to acquire a lighter.
A week into the darkness we tried to take the cover off the light again, but it would not move. We spent the rest of the day sitting on the couch like two junkies who fear the inevitable return of light just as they’re coming off a two-day bender.
Last weekend we found ourselves in Bed, Bath and Beyond and thought about getting a nightlight or small lamp for the bathroom. After looking at bread makers and vacuum cleaners, we forgot why we entered the store in the first place and left to go get coffee.
In a moment of boredom today, I went to the hardware store. It was difficult because I was starting to get used to the new bathroom. There was never any mess to clean up in there because we just decided to let the place go, tossing random items in the space between the toilet and the cabinet when we didn’t want to exert energy to put the in their right place. And it didn’t matter because we didn’t have to see anything.
I reached into my purse and held out the cursed bulb I was prepared to replace. “I’d like to replace this.” I said. The salesmen led me downstairs. With every step, a voice in my head shouted, run, get out, you don’t have to do this. It had become so cozy in the dark and I reveled in the lack of responsibility.
The salesman stopped in front of a rack of light bulbs and searched for the right size.
“We’re all out of this kind,” he said. “But we can order some more for you.”
I didn’t respond. If I leave now I don’t ever have to get another light for the bathroom. It was tempting, but I could tell that my sanity had already begun to slip away as a result of living in such darkness.
“OK,” I said.
“You can pick it up tomorrow afternoon.”
“Sure,” my voice cracked knowing that it was unlikely that I would return the next day. I just can’t be trusted with that kind of responsibility. And between Sebastien and me, I’m the responsible one. And that’s not saying a lot about us. So if we can’t bring ourselves to buy a new light bulb, I just don’t think we are ready to live in a house. I think it takes a mature person to move into a house and we just can’t handle that kind of commitment.