The Wednesday pants

Chip couldn’t find his tracksuit pants, and that was the start of all the trouble.
            “I’m very… I need everything to be just right, you know? So when I go to gym on a Wednesday, I’ve gotta have my Wednesday pants. But I couldn’t find them.”
            He stands up from the table as he tells it, and when the conversation wanders somewhere else, he steers it back to his story about his tracksuit pants.
            “So I decide to go have a look in Karen’s closet. I reckon the maid might’ve packed them away or something.”
            “So, I look in her drawers, on her shelves, and then I go look in her cupboard…”
            “And there’s this big, litre-and-a-half bottle of water. Why would she have a big bottle of water in her cupboard, behind her shoes?”
            “So I have a sniff, and it’s vodka!”
            And you must know, Chip is a recovering addict. He’s been tidy since 2006. Just had his big four-year share at NA. He’s been with Karen for two years, and now he finds out she’s hiding vodka in her cupboard.
            “I just flip out, bru. I flip out. I start going through everything. Going through her panty drawers, everything and I start finding all kinds of other stuff…”
He starts finding other bottles of booze… these weird little plastic wrappers… “And the whole time I just know, here it comes. Here it comes. Any minute now I’m gonna find drugs…”
            Because it’s not like Karen was pretending she didn’t drink. She did. But she’d just have a glass of wine or two. And then somehow she’d end up more tipsy than anyone else. But that was just her. People are weird.
            “I find these empty plastic bags that might’ve had weed in them, and then eventually I find this little packet with some white powder in it. Bru, I take all the stuff, all that kak. I just pile it all up on her dressing table and leave for gym.”
            A week later, Karen and her kids have moved out of Chip’s house. By the time of his four-year share, he’s single again, at the age of 45.
            “It’s not the drinking or the drugs themselves, it’s the deception, bru. That’s what I can’t take, you know. The deception! For two years, man!
            And now? Karen’s doing all the right things. She’s acknowledged she has a problem. She’s been to a couple of meetings. She’s got herself a sponsor, someone who’s been through it all before. So if she sticks with the programme, and if she really wants to change, she can.
            “But for now, it wouldn’t be right for us to be together.”
            And those missing Wednesday tracksuit pants? Did they ever turn up?
            “Ja. They were actually in my other bag.”

Writer for television, print and digital, corporate and editorial. Editor and writer of books. Musical performance, spoken word as Inspector Ras. Guitar/vocals for The Near Misses, (Worst Band In JoburgTM). The last whitey at umsebenzi. Latest book 415 Action-Packed Neighbourhood Marketing Tips with Basil O'Hagan, out now. @hagenengler

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