Sunday, March 17, 1991

The abandoned

One day I came home from work and discovered that my refrigerator had left me. There was a horrible empty space in the kitchen, right where she used to stand, which gaped at me, mocking. Some wrinkled tomatoes sat on the draining board, covered with shiny beads of condensed water, and a few dehydrated chillies lay beside them. But that was the only sign that I had ever had a refrigerator of my own. She had just taken everything – and left.
It was a horrid shock. I know we’d had many disagreements – but then, what man is there who can truly say that he has never quarrelled with his refrigerator? Who has never complained about her constant need to be defrosted and cleaned, about the electricity bills she is responsible for? No, I never expected it would come to this.
After all, hadn’t I given her a good home – pride of place in my kitchen – and filled her with food and drink of every description? The ungrateful thing! I was angry, and hurt.
But before long my anger turned to grief. I remembered sadly the day when I had first taken her to be my refrigerator. It had been a day of rejoicing and happiness. We had been happy then, full of plans for the future. It was a wonderful feeling to have my very own refrigerator, to love and cherish till death did us part, and I was filled with pride. What had gone wrong?
It had begun gradually enough. There was the odd day when I’d come home hot and tired in the evening, longing for nothing so much as a tepid bath and a hot meal. But she would have nothing to offer but the cold congealed remains of previous repasts. I can tell you that made me mad. I slammed in her door good and hard a couple of times! Then of course she’d begin making a noise. Somewhere between a grumble and a whine, she’d start up with a click when I happened by. It was awful and of course I’d have to go out to eat. It made me feel guilty and all but, I ask you, what else is a man to do?
Finally, things got so bad between us that her light wouldn’t go on when I opened her door. I knew she was acting up when I called in the mechanic and he couldn’t find anything wrong.
Perhaps I should have sensed the depth of her hurt and tried to make amends. Now of course it is too late, she has gone. In spite of everything, I can’t help wondering how she is going to manage.  A refrigerator on her own … it’s a tough world out there. The empty space in the kitchen stares up at me accusingly.
As for me – no ice, the milk spoiling, fruit rotting – no, I could never live like that. There’s nothing for it but to go out and get a new refrigerator.
The prospect is quite stimulating, really. I shall have to look far and wide – advertise, perhaps – but at the end of my search, who knows, I may just find a refrigerator of the right shape, the right colour, manufactured by the right people – and one that works well, too.
first appeared in Business & Political Observer on 17 Mar 1991