What I Do All Day

Helen Ellis

Inspired by Beyoncé, I stallion-walk to the toaster. I show my husband a burnt spot that looks like the island where we honeymooned fifteen years ago, kiss him goodbye, and tell him what time to be home for our party.

I go to the grocery store and find that everyone else has gone to the grocery store and, as I maneuver my cart through Chips and Nuts traffic, get grocery aisle rage. I see a lost child and assume it’s an angry ghost. Fearing cold and flu season, I fist bump the credit card signature pad.

Back home, I get a sickening feeling and am relieved to find out it’s just my husband’s coat hung the wrong way in a closet. I break into a sweat when I find a Sharpie cap, but not the pen. I answer my phone and scream obscenities at an automated call. I worry that the Butterball hotline ladies are lonely. I follow a cat on twitter and click “view photo” when a caption reads, “YUCK.” I regret clicking that photo. I weep because I am lucky enough to have a drawer just for glitter.

I shred cheese. I berate a pickle jar. I pump the salad spinner like a CPR dummy. I strangle defrosted spinach and soak things in brandy. I casserole. I pinwheel. I toothpick. I bacon. I iron a tablecloth and think about eating lint from the dryer, but then think better of that because I am perfectly sane. I unhook the back of my bra and rearrange furniture like a Neanderthal. I mayonnaise water rings. I straighten picture frames.

I take a break and drink Dr. Pepper through a Twizzler. I watch ten minutes of my favorite movie on TV and lip-sync Molly Ringwald: “I loathe the bus.” I know every word by heart. Sixteen Candles is my Star Wars.

I hop in the shower and assure myself that behind every good woman is a little back fat. I cry because I don’t have the upper arm strength to flat-iron my hair. I mascara my grey roots. I smoke my eyes. I paint my lips. I drown my sorrows with Chanel No. 5.

At the party, I kiss my husband hello. I loathe guests who sneeze into the crooks of their elbows. I can’t be convinced that winter whites is a thing. I study long-married couples and decide that wives are like bras: sometimes the most matronly are the most supportive.

I feign interest in skiing, golf, World of Warcraft, performance art, owl collections, shell collections, charity benefits, school fundraisers, smoothies, the return of ’80s step class, the return of ’90s grunge, a resurgence of bridge clubs, and ping pong mania.

I say, “My breath is the Pinot Grigioest.”

I say, “I am perfectly happy not being a Kennedy.”

I say, “I’d watch a show called Ghost Hoarders. Why is that not a show?”

I say, “You can take your want of a chocolate fountain and go straight to hell.”

I see everyone out and face the cold hard truth that no one will ever load my dishwasher right. I scroll through iPhone photos and see that if I delete pictures of myself with a double chin, I will erase all proof of my glorious life. I fix myself a hot chocolate because it is a gateway drug to reading. I think I couldn’t love my husband more, and then he vacuums all the glitter.


Helen Ellis is the author of the novel, Eating The Cheshire Cat. Her stories have appeared recently and are forthcoming in Blue Mesa Review and FiveChapters.com. She is also a housewife. And has a drawer just for glitter. “What I Do All Day” is part of a collection in progress.


0 replies on “What I Do All Day”