He looked in her direction.
"Did you hear me?" She wiggled the hanger in her hand interrupting the heavy air between them.
He pushed his glasses up the bridge of his nose. "Hangers in the hamper. Okay."
*****************Nothing changed in that regard. The hangers remained askew from where he'd yanked the shirt down in his rush to get out of the house. She'd sigh that annoying martyred sigh, reach up and pluck the hanger from its spot, often having to untangle it from its neighbors.
On her bad days, those hangers are the symbol of one more thing she does for people who could do such things for themselves. She knows this because there was once a time when she, too, rushed out the door to get on with her day and the hangers made their way to the laundry room without her morning hike around the house.
On her good days, she'd remember that those hangers never made it to the laundry room unless she reminded him and the children to bring them down. Or, as was often the case, she spent her evenings after work and weekends going from room to room retrieving them and resenting the fact that despite of her job and long commute, she bore most of the domestic duties, as well.
Also on her good days, she'd remind herself that he was busy. Always working. Away from the house and at home. She'd recently joked (okay it wasn't so much a joke) that with the hours he put in planning and grading and answering emails and all the other things a teacher does, his hourly wage was probably hovering near minimum wage.
All their married lives they'd struggled for balance between them - who was giving enough, who was giving too much, who wasn't paying attention, who was using work as an escape, who was looking out instead of in. These last two years had been a real test of their ability to adjust the scales.
So what was it about the hangers that lit the pilot of her ire?
********************"Where's the hanger for my jacket?"
One simple sentence. A legitimate question asked by a reasonable man who just wanted to hang up his hoodie now that the day was warming. At other points in their twenty-three year marriage, she would have been thrilled that he even thought to hang it up.
"I must have taken it when I collected them to take downstairs. I'm sorry."
He stood holding his jacket and frowning. "I just wanted to hang this up."
"I'm sorry. Put it on the chair and I'll bring up a hanger in a little while." Unbelievable. He was pissed at her for keeping the wheels of domestic order in forward motion? Did he think all this shit got done by magic? She'd asked him more than once (and yes, that matters when you're keeping score) to deal with those fucking hangers at the time he took his shirts out of the closet and he'd either forgotten or refused (which would not be unlike him to spite her in a little way like that!) and now he was bitching about not having a hanger.
He repeated his grievance. "You know, I just want one hanger."
"I'm sorry. I said I'd take care of it!"
These words got said over and over, louder and louder until she left the room, slamming the door behind her.
********************Monday morning came and everyone with somewhere to go raced out the door or, in the case of some of them, dragged themselves out. She wandered the house, picking up things that had been discarded without a thought as to where they belonged, making beds, tidying this and that. The closet door stood open and there hung an empty hanger slightly askew. She reached up to take it then stopped.
UPDATED: Geoffrey has a different and essential perspective.
Randal is not Armin Tanzarian, but you might remember him from such blockbuster films as Librarians Go Wild.