'The Cleaner' by Sara Laksimi
I had my head in the oven when my third lover left me. I didn’t notice until I’d finished cleaning out the last of his burnt lasagne and saw the note on the kitchen table. It said, ‘Bye. Thanks for the clean laundry.’ I scrubbed the kitchen floor as I bled tears.
My fourth lover left me after he returned from an out-of-town conference and discovered I’d starched not only his man-size hankies but also his boxer shorts. He went on to discover I’d rearranged his CD collection and chucked out his tattier ties. His starched underwear came in handy for drying up the ocean of tears I swam in for the three weeks after he left.
The fifth lover rang to dump me whilst I was in Robert Dyas getting an especially good descaler. He said he’d rather live in a rat-infested squat and have a girlfriend he could go out and enjoy himself with. When I got home I became a decluttering commando, seeking out and destroying love letters, mementos, photos of old lovers. The kettle sparkled and my home was empty of all my rejecting ex-lovers. I lay on my bed feeling as blank as my pristine white sheets.
The door has just closed on my sixth lover. I’ll give the bathroom a once over. He’s popped out to get me more furniture polish.