Clarissa Minimizes Everything

Clarissa and Marco’s fifth date hadn’t just gone well, it had gone well enough for her to want to take things to the next level and invite him to spend the night at her place. There were no ‘Does she like my body?” or “Will he call me after this?” worries between them. They were completely in tune with each other, passionate, and knew that this was the beginning of something great.

When Marco awoke in the morning, he noticed that Clarissa was no longer in bed. The smell of sizzling bacon told him exactly where he would find her. He jumped out from beneath the covers and immediately went for his clothes. Just as he was starting to put his jeans on, he noticed something strange about Clarissa’s bedroom. There was hardly anything in it. There was the queen size bed they had shared the previous evening, but no head or foot board, or the decorative pillows often found in other homes. Side tables stood to the left and the right, but one was completely bare while the other seemed to exist solely as a resting place for Clarissa’s cell phone. The top of her upright dresser was just as bare. What struck him as strangest of all, however, were the walls. There wasn’t a single piece of art on any of them, or even framed photographs. They were completely blank. After debating the potential inappropriateness of looking in her closet, he decided to go for it and was met by almost the same sight. There were clothes inside, but the space was far from being crammed. You could take everything in with just a quick glance and then retrieve whatever you wanted without having to battle an army of hangers.

“I’m just going to use your bathroom, if that’s okay. I’ll join you in a second,” Marco called out from the bedroom.

“Sure thing. Take your time. I’m just putting the coffee on,” Clarissa said.

Her bathroom was just as plain as her bedroom. The walls were stark white and the countertop held only a soap dispenser, a drinking glass, and a toothbrush holder. The shower caddy stored a bottle of 2-and-1 shampoo and conditioner, a white bar of soap, and a razor. And the only things he found in her cupboards were an extra set of towels and sheets, a hairdryer, a compact makeup bag, a tube of toothpaste, a bottle of unscented body lotion, and a box of Band-Aids.

“This girl isn’t big on stuff,” he said while washing his hands.

“Breakfast is ready if you want to have a seat in the dining room,” Clarissa said just as Marco popped his head into her equally sparse kitchen.

“Sounds good,” he said. “It smells good, too.”

A few seconds later Clarissa came out carrying a plate of bacon and eggs and cup of coffee for both of them.

“I took a chance that you like your bacon crisp and your eggs over easy.”

“That’s great! Last night was, too by the way.”

Clarissa smiled and the two of them began to eat. Nothing else was said for awhile, partly because they were busy eating, but also in part to Marco being distracted by what he saw around him. Clarissa’s dining room walls were just as baren as the ones in her bedroom and bathroom, and because her space was open concept, Marco could tell that the living room was the same way.

“Nice place you have here,” he said. “It’s very clean and….,” he stopped there, unable to find the right words.

“Uncluttered?” Clarissa said, helping him out.

“Yes. Uncluttered…minimal even. Have you always decorated this way?”

“Ever since I moved out of my parents’ house. They were hoarders, you see; massive hoarders. You couldn’t move an inch without tripping over something. I felt trapped in there and was always expecting the whole place to cave in on us at any moment. I guess going to the opposite extreme has been my way of freeing myself from my past.”

“So I guess there would be no point in sending you flowers then. I can’t imagine that you have a vase.”

“Oh I have a vase,” Clarissa assured him. “Keeping the decorating to a minimum means that I have lots of room for the things that truly do make me happy. Flowers, people….,” she said trailing off.

Marco did send her flowers the following day, and shortly thereafter he added a change of socks and underwear to her empty bottom dresser drawer and a spare toothbrush to her bathroom. Clarissa did indeed have room for him in her home…and in her heart.

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