my friend is coming over today
that’s nice
isn’t that nice?

she’s a therapist
specialising in
obsessive compulsive disorder
how interesting

i should probably just
clean around a bit
before she arrives

everyone does that, right?
i mean everyone
when somebody is coming over
has a bit of a manic clean beforehand

and i’ve been doing so much better
last week i took six sips
of the orange juice
instead of seven
even though three and seven
are the best numbers
followed by thirteen and fourteen
and then all the multiples of seven
well, not all of them
not twenty-eight, for example
that is a bad number

but i have been doing
so much better
so it won’t matter
if i just clean up
a little bit

i will put on my motivational playlist
whoops the song didn’t start
quite right
oh dear
i was distracted and i missed the opening line
two more times
i’ll start it once more
but it didn’t go back
right to the start, so i have to
restart it a
but then no
four is not a good number, and
i’m allowed a bit of indulgence today, so
five six seven
and now the song has started
and i can wash up

but what if she arrives
and realises
that i’m not really obsessive
but just pretending?
what if she looks down the side of the oven
and sees the mass of dust
which i notice every day
and thinks
“well i’ve seen much worse than this
she must be fine
just doing it for attention
or something”

what if she goes to the bathroom
and looks behind the toilet
at that bit i can

she will know then
that i am a fraud
and that i cannot
keep my house clean
like someone who really cares

but it’ll be fine
i’ve been doing so much better
and my friend is not
a judgemental person.

i will just hoover
one more time
and before i know it
i am down on my knees
sweeping the carpet until there are graze marks
on the sides of my hands
to make sure i get up
of dust

and i crawl through the flat
picking up the miniscule specks
that the hoover managed to miss
but that somehow
i still see

i’ve been doing so much better though
she’ll be here any minute now
i’ll just bleach the toilet one more time
and the bath
and the sink
resist the urge to sip it
it will not make your insides clean.

i’ve been doing
(cough seven times)
so much
(seven sips of tea)
better though

(12346 come on you can do it…)

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