Struggling with the grocery bags, Denise nearly fell into her house. She set them on the counter, then closed and locked the front door, bolting the top lock first, then the second. It had been a long week - she was exhausted - and she was looking forward to watching a movie, snuggled with her crochet throw wrapped around her shoulders. She separated the groceries - one pile for the pantry and one for the refrigerator. She stacked the milk, cheese, vegetables, fruit, meat, and eggs all on the top shelf, thinking, “That’s good enough” - then collapsed on the living room sofa with the remote.
No, that’s not good enough.
She heaved herself up, went back into the kitchen, and pulled all the grocery items back out. She placed the cheese and meat in the middle drawer with the other deli items; pulled the egg box out and arranged the eggs on the little plastic crate; threw the cardboard egg container away in the recycling bin in the garage; put the vegetables in the top crisper drawer; the fruit in the bottom crisper drawer; and set the milk on the top shelf with the label facing towards her.
There, that’s good.
She took the pantry items off the counter and placed them carefully on the shelves – soups organized left to right from creams to broth; basil to the left of the bay leaves; spaghetti into a Tupperware container with the noodles.
There, that’s good.
Denise climbed the stairs to her bedroom, counting each step for the millionth time - seventeen, counting the top step. She took off her shoes, put them in the box that was marked with a magic marker, “brown stacked heels" and placed them on the top shelf next to the box marked “brown flats.” Her closet was arranged according to style and color - suits on the left, then skirts, slacks, then long sleeved blouses, short-sleeved blouses, tank tops. It calmed Denise to know that everything was organized properly.
Counting seventeen steps downstairs, Denise was ready for her movie.
Tomorrow was all planned out. Denise needed to do laundry - whites first, then coloreds, then darks.
Nothing else would be good enough.
Denise sat on the sofa, tears starting to spill over on to her cheeks.
This is not good enough.
She realized then that her life as it was would never be good… or enough.