The Utility of an Inexpensive Rug
March 31, 2012 in Wordsmoker Short Fiction
I know it was probably a bad idea to get a cream-colored rug. It was an even worse idea to get an expensive one, but the place we moved into had these beautiful ebony-colored hardwood (well, they were probably laminate, because if they weren’t, we’d never have afforded the place) floors.
But I was insistent, and searched for months for the right rug, amidst complaints from the downstairs neighbors that we needed a fucking rug because we walk like elephants.
Over and over and over, we’d be shopping and my boyfriend would ask if we could just buy something cheap there to tide us over. I was tired of cheap things to tide us over, though. I wanted a white rug. He liked the idea of the white rug, too, even if he wouldn’t admit it, now.
I didn’t realize it at the time, but that white whale of a rug (this was what he called it) was a symbol of my completed transition into adulthood: not only could I afford an expensive white rug, but I could own one and not immediately ruin it.
Fine, that’s bullshit; I just really wanted a white rug, and now I’m trying to make it more important than wanting my house to look like a Crate and Barrel catalog.
The second time I spilled a glass of red wine on our still-bare floor, my boyfriend put his foot down and said that we were not spending a bunch of money on something that I was surely going to ruin as soon as I got it.
But, when we were registering for our wedding, I convinced him to register for this beautiful cream (I was willing to compromise a little) Berber rug with a subtle rose-ivy pattern in a slightly darker shade of tan. I’m sure he figured no one would get it for us, but that I’d be content knowing we—I—could possibly end up as its proud owner.
Some sucker actually spent all that money on us and got us the rug. He didn’t hate it, exactly, but he’d thought he dodged that particular bullet and felt as if I’d tricked him somehow by not telling him about my aunt the interior designer, and how she’s rich and childless and is probably the reason I wanted the rug in the first place.
He was vindicated, though, when I spilled something on the rug right after we came back from our honeymoon. Embarrassingly, it was fucking grape juice. What adult drinks grape juice?
I did everything I could to get the stain out, and his self-satisfied almost-grin as I was there on my hands and knees with a bottle of peroxide made me pretend it was actually his blood I was cleaning out of the rug. Then I felt guilty, sick, evil, and just turned the rug around so that the stain was mostly under the couch, and realized that I didn’t want to be an adult.