A story about not being equipped to help someone. #flashfiction #shortstory #mentalhealth https://t.co/q9KdEdGWVF https://t.co/H14jfmpg2Z (4 hours ago)

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Jan
10

Annie

It took him until his mid-twenties to stop chewing his fingernails. It was no small feat and he had a certain pride about how well-manicured he’d kept his hands since the fateful day he last pulled a finger out of his mouth.

Which is why he was tearing apart the bedroom he shared with his wife.

He’d had enough.

Every day it seems another pair of fingernail clippers went missing. As quickly as he buys them they seem to vanish. His wife claims she has nothing to do with the mysterious disappearances, but at some point he has to come up with answers. Every time he goes to the grocery store, mall or pharmacy he buys another pair and then only days later he will ask his wife a simple question; “Have you seen the clippers?” and she will shrug and say she hasn’t.

It made no sense to him. The house should be teeming with them. Every drawer should be clogged with them.

But again this morning he went to find a pair and came up empty.

It was time to get to the bottom of things. He needed to know. He couldn’t live with distrusting his wife.

He was opening each one of his wife’s drawers and rifling through them, but instead of carefully replacing things, as he’d done so many times before so she wouldn’t suspect anything, he just hurled the entire drawer across the room. When he came upon the half dozen fake passports hidden in the false bottom of the bottom drawer, each one with a different picture, name and country of origin for his wife, he was sure he’d find a stash of clippers but none materialized.

He remembered the nasty infections he’d get from his chewed nails. The way he’d be embarrassed by the look of them. He’d found some temporary anxiety relief when he did it, but in the end it caused him more stress than it was worth. So eventually he made the difficult decision to stop.

Under the bed he found a box filled with at least a dozen different currencies. What had to be hundreds of thousands of dollars worth of yen, francs, rupees, pesos and rubles were packed tightly in the old wooden container.

But no fingernail clippers.

Where could they all be? Why were they obviously so damn important to his wife?

He flipped the bed over and began to pull up the carpeting. He remembered the day they bought it. They decided on the Stainmaster over the TrafficMaster, reasoning that they were in much more danger from stains than they were from heavy traffic in their bedroom. They’d paid a little more for the sound dampening option.

In her closet, in the back under her wedding dress, he found a gun. Loaded. He realized his mistake in ransacking the bedroom as opposed to his typical discrete investigations. Wherever she was hiding the clippers, she didn’t want them found.

But why? What was her end-game? Did she want him chewing his fingernails again?

Was she jealous of the time and energy he spent on his hands?

I guess he’d find out soon enough. She would be home soon and she’d see that he’d been looking in earnest.

The only thing he could do was to pop out and buy another pair before her return.

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