• A Towel Tale

    by Mary Allen ,

    As I stood dripping wet on a beach with only a small thin towel with too many holes to count covering my dignity, I realised I had made a fatal mistake. The towel was older than myself, a perpetual lingering memento from my husband’s childhood that conspicuously always made its way back into the linen cupboard after I had thrown it into the bin. He argued it was his single souvenir from boarding school. I argued he should frame it rather than subject us to using it.

     

    As I rushed to the beach, the dreaded towel had looked quite inconspicuous amongst the fluffy similar coloured towels that were to be used for my children. After a calming ocean swim, I realised I had drawn the short straw (or the short towel...); my children had apparently dispersed amongst friends with their fluffy terry towels, nowhere to be seen. Scraping myself dry with a towel about as useful as a dishcloth, I could not help wishing I had set the cursed towel on fire rather than putting it into the bin when I had the opportunity. In a state of shameful anxiety, where I imagined more eyes looking on me than there probably were, I dressed alone on the beach without a modicum of dignity, sliding my shorts and t-shirt over a still damp body.

     

    I rushed home to find my husband and boys, laughing hysterically. The plan to leave me with the cursed towel was deliberate. Needless to say, the small cursed towel mysteriously tore to pieces in the next wash. I guess it had gotten too old...

     

    Sure, they can feel free to abandon their towels sporadically on the floor as soon as they no longer need them. I will always devotedly wash and fold them for them. It's not like I'm tired from working a full-time job or anything. Picking up their dirty clothes, shutting the doors to stop the air conditioning getting out, letting them leave their swim suits to dry on any surface from the floor to the bannister is all part of the summer fun. And of course, a laugh at my expense is an extra condition in my undevoted love to my children!

     

    But what I did not expect was for my husband to act like a big baby too.

     

    "That towel is all that is left of childhood," he cried in despair.

     

    The two bits of cloth that used to resemble a towel are now actually framed courtesy of myself. We hung it over the mantelpiece for a week for a laugh, but to this day my husband still keeps it hidden somewhere safe. Somewhere I can't find it!

     

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