By: Rebecca Taylor

Based on the Bottle, Balcony, Strawberry, Conversation, Values writing prompt from this week

Sometimes we don’t realize what we have until we lose it. This is exactly what happened to me and my girlfriend, but I’m fortunate because I only lost her for a while. Growing up, I didn’t always realize the importance of the values my parents and grandparents tried teaching me, but I always loved them and obeyed the house rules most of the time. But, then I became an adult, and I thought this meant no more rules, no longer having to have a conversation about whose turn it was to take out the garbage or who was going to wash the dishes and who was going to dry. I, Chad Ryan was my own boss and if I wanted the dishes to sit in the sink for a week, they could, although that meant a lot more scrubbing when I eventually got to them. Sometimes, I would just order pizza and eat it out of the box and save my self the hassle of having any dishes. I had my own apartment and my habits were not bothering anyone. Then, I met my girlfriend and things with Clarissa were lots of fun because we would go out to restaurants and parties and have random conversations about everything from our favorite fruit with hers being strawberry and mine apple, to how many children we wanted someday, she wanted two and I wanted at least that many although I was scared out of my mind at the thought of raising them. One day I found myself asking her to move in with me. She agreed and that was when our wonderful relationship turned into a battle ground. I wasn’t living alone and leaving my shoes thrown in the middle of the floor might have been convenient for me, but she managed to trip over them one too many times. As a bachelor I might not have had to pick up the dishes throughout my apartment, but I’ll admit now that it might not be pleasant to find a half-full cup of three day old coffee sitting on the desk when you want to check your e-mail. Living alone had made be oblivious or ignorant to the good housekeeping methods my mother had enjoyed in our home when I was living there. I should have picked up on the annoyance in Clarissa’s tone after I committed these offences and plenty more but it wasn’t until she said goodbye and left me staring at her empty closet that I realized what had happened. So, first I had a date with a bottle on the balcony and tried to use it to calm my misery. It might have numbed the shock I had from her leaving but it didn’t take away the pain of missing her especially when I went to bed – alone – that night. A few days of loneliness and a visit home to my parents’ house made me realize two things – I needed to talk to Clarissa and I needed to do my share of the chores and do them before someone had to get annoyed that they were not done. I had asked Clarissa to move in with me because I loved her, and wanted my girlfriend to be with me. I hadn’t asked her to be my live in housekeeper but she was the one doing most of the housework. When she had been living with me my dishes didn’t sit in the sink for prolonged periods of time and my clothing didn’t sit in the dryer getting wrinkled. Clarissa did these things for me and I had never told her I appreciated it and I never helped out either. I could have washed or dried the dishes and just enjoyed being with her. I realized I could have done a lot of things to make us live harmoniously. So, I went and called her and told her I was sorry and asked for a second chance. She agreed and now we work together to get the must do tasks done. This gives us both time to enjoy life beyond the domestic tasks and we are both happier for it. Sometimes, lessons need to be learned the hard way.