Hopefully I won't need therapy after what just happened to me.
But I'm married to a (retired) psychotherapist, so it'll be easy to get treatment for Post Fairy Disillusionment Disorder if the shock of last week doesn't fade away.
The interesting thing is, my potential therapist is closely connected with my trauma. This could produce some sort of transference issues, but that's the least of my worries right now.
Because what I'm trying to deal with is a wholesale upsetting of my world view – as it pertains to our household, at least. I've having to adjust to losing a deeply held faith.
In the Chore Fairy.
I'll get a head start on recovery by sharing my story. I'll imagine that we're sitting in a circle and my turn comes to talk. "Hi, I'm Brian, and I used to be addicted to my belief."
Which wasn't based on nothing. I had good reasons for it.
I've been married to Laurel for almost eighteen years. Almost every day, and you can do the math to figure out how many thousands of them there have been, I'd get out of bed in the morning and go about my business.
Sometime later, the bed would be made. I never was sure how.
I'd make coffee, let the dog out, get the newspaper, go have some meditation quiet time, eat breakfast, take a shower – and eventually when I'd walk back in the bedroom, presto, the bed would be all neat and tidy. Never caught anyone in the act of arranging the sheets and bedspread.
So I started to figure it must be the Chore Fairy.
It made me happy to visualize her under the bed, or maybe peeking out from the closet, waiting for me to leave the room so she could do her thing in private (everybody knows fairies are shy; that's why we never see them).
Eventually I began to realize that the Chore Fairy was up to more than making the bed. She was doing a whole lot of other things to make life easier for me.
Consider toilet paper. I'd buy it at the store and bring it home. But I'd never put any rolls under the bathroom sinks. Yet when I needed a fresh roll, there one would be!
Amazing. Mysterious. Marvelous. As the years went by my adoration for the Chore Fairy grew. I became more attuned to recognizing her unseen presence.
Often I'd notice that the dishwasher "clean" light was on, but I wouldn't have time to attend to it, having a lot of important items on my to-do list, like checking out my blog statistics and putting my own name into Google to see how I was stacking up with the other Brian Hines' of the world.
After a while I'd tear myself away from my laptop, walk upstairs, and oh my god thank you Chore Fairy! I'd go into the kitchen to find a snack and see that the light was off and the dishwasher was empty.
I'd grab a clean plate, pop some leftover spaghetti into the microwave, and say another silent "thank you" to the Chore Fairy, who clearly was the most dependable friend a guy could have.
When Laurel left last Friday for a weeklong trip to Florida, I was looking forward to having some alone time with the Chore Fairy. Maybe, I thought, her shyness was due to my wife, not me. This could be my chance to finally see her perform her magic.
Things didn't work out like I expected, though – right from the beginning. By Friday afternoon I figured that the Chore Fairy should have the bed made. But no, it looked just the same.
A day later, ditto. Worse, not only was the dishwasher still full of clean dishes, after I emptied it myself (muttering "Where the !@#$& are you, Chore Fairy?") it wasn't being filled with dirty dishes from the sink per usual.
Nor were spots on the kitchen floor from food that I'd dropped disappearing after a few hours, as had always happened before. I became aware that the Chore Fairy was shirking a whole lot of her duties.
And that began to piss me off. All these years I'd venerated the Chore Fairy; I'd appreciated how much she did for me. Not in words, of course not – that'd be crazy.
The Chore Fairy knew how I felt. I was sure of it. Since her magical powers could clean things up around the house without me seeing her do it, surely she was aware of how much I cared for her.
But now she'd left me. In the lurch. When I needed her most.
Because I had extra duties with Laurel being gone – taking the dog for a morning walk, feeding the birds, putting the family pet to bed with some baby talk and a couple of biscuits – yet the Chore Fairy wasn't even doing what she usually does.
It was pretty damn traumatic, to have our relationship come to such a screeching halt. And the Chore Fairy chose the exact same day Laurel left to say Sayonara to me. I hated her. For the whole week.
But now things are better again between us. Laurel got back last night. And today I noticed that the Chore Fairy was back on the job.
Guess she needed some space. Can't figure out what I did to drive her away, though. Or why she decided to return when Laurel did.
Oh, jeez. It's becoming clear now. I've been such a fool!
The Chore Fairy loves Laurel more than me. She must have snuck into Laurel's suitcase when she packed and hitched a ride to Florida.
Well, that sucks. I've got to get me a Chore Fairy trap so I can keep her here next time Laurel goes away. Must be something like that on the Internet. Off to Google…