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Everybody's so goddamn judgmental, that's the problem. Part of it is where I live; the rural South is full of nothing so much as busybodies, Nosy Parkers, nosy neighbors, everybody so nosy. Always wondering. Always gossiping. Always minding my business, like I need that.

I don't know how the rumors started. I guess somebody came to my door, maybe taking up money for a church social, maybe something else. They saw inside, saw what my home was like, and ran full speed to cluck cluck cluck at their friends. "You should have seen it, Betsy, it was horrible. There was trash just everywhere. What a slob!" Cluck cluck. I don't need them. I don't want them. They shouldn't come back.

I hate all the shows on television, all the nosy shows, all the shows for perfect thin beautiful people to gawk at the rest of us. The shows about the eight hundred pound men or the shows about women with ten kids or fifteen kids or twenty kids or the ones they say I should be on. I don't hoard things, that's not what I'm doing. You don't need to know what I'm doing. It's not your business. But I'll tell you anyway.

You make it sound so weird. I'm not weird. I'm comfortable. Maybe you should look at how you live. You never thought of that, did you? You have your little feather dusters and your doilies and your placemats and your throw rugs and your hardwood floors, sticks stuck up all of your holier-than-thou asses. Everything has to have a place, everything has to be square and fit tightly, and God forbid somebody think you have a cat. I don't live like that. I refuse to. Things fall, things break, things get moved around and stacked atop of one another and squeezed into places, swept into corners and lined along walls. That's nature. That's whatchacallit, entropy. That's how I live.

It's not an accident. It started with the stains, sure, and I guess I didn't start those. I don't know how they got started. That was when I lived all square like you people do, everything in straight lines and grids. But I couldn't help things bumping into one another, and one day, it seemed that was all it took. Stains, scrapes, marks, abrasions. It started with one, then three, then dozens, everywhere. You can't imagine how much scrubbing I did. I scrubbed and scrubbed and washed and sat on my hands and knees and elbows and pushed and pushed rags and sponges and steel wool and belt sanders and I tried to destroy it, cut things out, and it didn't help. It was how I was back then, with the OCD. Everything had to be clean, blank, perfect. I polished every flat surface five times a day for fifteen minutes at a time. My husband wasn't there, he was "working" with the rest of his friends at that office. He didn't give a shit. He didn't love me. He wouldn't have left if he loved me.

Fuck him. I don't need him. I have my home.

I looked it up once, aversion therapy. That what this was. I thought it was a curse at first, but really, it was a cure. I had everything I thought I wanted, including the "perfect" little house with all the neat little lines everywhere. I thought everything was just how I wanted it, but it put me in hell. I sweated and cursed and prayed and cried and bled to keep everything right where it was supposed to be. Right where I thought it should go. Well, I don't know if you've read your Bible, but something you ought to know: you aren't in control. God wills it and you accept it. He says "jump" and you say "how high".

The stains were His test and His blessing. I almost failed, almost proved myself unworthy of the gift He gave me. It seemed like the Devil was chasing me, scuffing the floor whenever I turned around, getting dog shit ground into the carpet, staining everything I could see. All I wanted was a little place that was beautiful, a little corner where the world couldn't hurt me. I lost that place. I tried to swallow a bottle of aspirin. Lloyd called an ambulance, packed his bags, and left. I haven't seen him since. I have my home. All I need is my home.

The Lord works in mysterious ways. I had to let go of wanting everything clean, and once I did, everything changed. I'm so much happier now. You put so much of yourself into caring about things that don't matter and there's nothing left of yourself to truly live. I'm not saying it didn't take time, getting used to my new life. I walk over banana peels, old bills and newspapers, pillows, food wrappers, furniture. When I couldn't see my TV anymore, I took it out of the entertainment center and set it on a pile of towels. I wasn't showering anymore, so I didn't need them. More trash just emerges now, by itself. It doesn't think I see it, but I always see it; empty tissue boxes I never bought, dirty clothes I never wore, When I couldn't reach my bed without a rake, I started sleeping on the floor. The floor is so soft with so much flotsam on it. That's what I think of it as. Just debris in the ocean.

That's what we'll all be, in the end. Just floating in the water. I'm ahead of the rest of you now.

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