A woman’s heart

A woman’s heart is a great mystery. We women don’t even understand it, ourselves. We love when it is wholly irrational to do so, and cannot when it would make so much sense. We come to see things we’d rather not see at all – because the heart is a scope into another person’s soul.

We can fight it, we can rage against it – it hardly matters. We will love despite ourselves, and suffer in the process.

I knew I was sunk when one day I suddenly realized, I want to iron his shirts. I don’t iron – unless it is absolutely necessary, but suddenly I was overwhelmed with the completely irrational yearning to iron his shirts.

I learned to iron so that my father could have a nice shirt to wear to work. He had to wear uniform shirts, and my mother would take them from the washer and dryer and dump them on the picnic table in the basement (the very picnic table I now use as my desk). He’d come through, trying to get ready for work (he was a long-distance trucker), and he would say, “Do I have a clean shirt to wear?” and she’d look at him from underneath her eyebrows, usually over hte top of a book, and she’d snap, “If you want a shirt, you can iron it yourself!” and for a long time he did – and not any too well, either.

So I learned to iron his shirts, because I adored my daddy and it shamed and infuriated me that my mother, his wife, should despise him so.

I should have known not to marry Danny or Rusty – the thought of ironing their shirts was boring. But now I want to iron his shirts, and I see myself handling the fabric that he wears against his own skin, and it is an act of great service, and love and devotion to a man … whose shirts I will quite surely never iron.

Such is the complexity and the fickleness of a woman’s heart – it betrays not the men, but us, the ones whose heart it’s supposed to be.

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