As the words tumbled from Kat’s mouth – “Oh Maryanne’s a terrible hoarder!” – Kat and Bill’s eyes met. They shared a look and a common unspoken thought. Kat was really speaking about herself. The look of disappointment in Bill’s eyes cut through Kat’s usual defences.
“Kat, what’s really going on?” asked Bill.
“I’ve been trying to sell this stuff for weeks but it’s not working.”
“Well, I’m glad you’re getting rid of it, but why do you want to sell it? Why not just take it to the op shop?”
“Bill, I’m in trouble with the credit card. I have to sell this stuff to pay it off.”
At this, Bill sighed deeply. He hung his head, clutched his chest, threw a bag full of shopping bags from a nearby seat and sat down heavily. The bags spilled out but Bill didn’t care. What did one more pile of disorder matter? There was already so much. And he’d had enough.
He looked ill and Kat was worried. She expected rebuke. She expected rage. She expected a lecture. She did not expect this deep disappointment. It seemed like resignation. He seemed broken.
“Bill, I’m sorry. I’m trying to fix it.”
Even as she said the words, she knew deep down that she couldn’t just “hack” her way out of this. There was no easy fix. They’d been at this place before, and here they were again.
“Kat, I don’t think you get it. Our house is not a home. It’s a piled up to the rafters storage facility. I can’t sit down on a chair without having to move something out of the way. I can’t brush my teeth in the morning without something tipping off the bathroom shelf. I can’t go to bed at night without climbing over boxes and baskets and piles. And I can’t sleep at night for worrying that we’ll die in a fire.”
Kat started to respond but Bill looked her directly in the eyes. “Did you know I’ve registered our house with the fire brigade? If it goes up in smoke, at least they know to send more help. But it probably won’t be enough to save us.”
Kat gasped. How could he tell other people about this? How could he tell the authorities?
Bill went on. “I want to get out of this house. I want to go and enjoy my retirement. I want us to enjoy it. But you won’t even go on a holiday with me because you can’t leave your stuff. And you keep buying more of it. When is it going to be enough?”
Catch up on all the past Adventures of Kat here.