LOVE SUCKS By Sharon Frame Gay

Perhaps it’s because the moon was full, or I had been staring too long at the sun. Maybe it was just the right time for me to give my heart away again.

At first, I resisted. Actually, I resisted for years. Oh, I had heard the rumours. How there was a dynamic attraction, how much this relationship would benefit me, but I just held back. I couldn’t let my heart follow the siren song, perhaps give up too much of myself, or even my pocketbook, for this romance. I worried that it wouldn’t meet my expectations. I wondered if I would have the ability to allow it into my heart, hearth and home, my life.

One day I impulsively decided to take the plunge. I can never look back, even though, in many ways, this love might hurt me.

I am talking about my new clear canister vacuum cleaner. You know the kind. The commercials say that it can clean up nearly anything, and never lose its suction.

Oh, I had heard the hype about how good it was, but I resisted Madison Avenue, deciding that a good ad campaign doesn’t exactly meet my criteria for a thorough housecleaning. I scoffed at the talk on the streets, whispers in the laundry rooms, the gossip about the special rollers, see through canisters, tremendous suction, the sexy accessories. Heaven can wait. But one May morning, in a madcap moment, I decided to place an order and have it delivered to the house. I counted the hours until its arrival, jittery and apprehensive. Is this the one I have dreamed of for decades? Will this obliterate my house dust, dog hair, dirt and leftover crumbs?

It arrived at my door one rainy Tuesday in a sleek box. Easy to assemble, it practically leapt into my arms, arranging its handles and tools in all the right places, with a defining click. I swear it winked at me and fondled my leg. Oh my. But I wasn’t convinced yet. “Handsome is as handsome does” I warned, and with that, I touched a button and away we went around the family room carpet.

I had just vacuumed this room the day before and thought it looked fairly clean. I am a bit of an obsessive compulsive when it comes to vacuuming, so I know my house is regularly treated to this, perhaps 2-3 times a week. I wasn’t expecting to see much debris emptied into the clear tube.

I was giddy when I finished the room, turned off the power and bent down to peer into the canister. It was full. Loaded to the brim with tangled dog hairs, fine silt, chunks of crumbs, missing bits of Christmas glitter, dried grasses, and other debris. I was fascinated. And motivated. After dumping the full canister, we set off to do the rest of the house. Astonishingly, it continued to suck up everything in its path. The vacuum was sucking through the carpet, the floorboards, down past the crawlspace and all the way to China. Somewhere in Beijing, a woman’s hair is standing on end and her mother of pearl combs are residing in the bottom of the canister. It burped with satisfaction, and I felt the need for a cigarette. This was the next best thing to, well, anything, anything at all.

I wept tears of joy and passion. I fondled its 12 foot long hose, cheering it on as it traversed my stairs with lightning speed, startling residing spiders and taking them down into a cyclone of doom. We were bonding quickly.

I thought briefly of marriage, but decided this relationship would be more enriching as a love affair. We’d meet a few times a week, share our love, then I would slip away to the rest of my life, knowing it would be waiting for me, faithfully, in the closet. This was going to be my guilty secret, my kept lover. This was bliss.

The next morning after our first encounter, I woke up with a back ache that was so intense, I had trouble getting out of bed. Sharp razor like pains were stabbing my spine and undulating down both legs. Just going down the stairs was a major feat.

It was too obvious that my honeymoon with the new vacuum the day before took its toll. I blushed. It stood in the corner, smirking, I swear, and looking none the worse for our energetic workout the day before. He sent out a clear challenge and I couldn’t resist. I had to start him up again, trail over the same ground we hit yesterday and see what was sucked into his mighty canister. Again, I was stunned. I wondered briefly if I was going to vacuum the fibres right off the rug and end up with bald spots. I didn’t care! The mesmerizing cadence of the whirring and sucking, combined with the canister filling at astonishing speed with even the finest silt that has floated through my home kept me coming back for more. And more. And still more.

I invited guests to try him out. I shamelessly admit that I passed him around like a gigolo, watching while nibbling my lip as others fondled his handle and turned him on in front of me. I shyly and humbly accepted the compliments with pride and peered out at it with lowered lashes, swimming in a love that was mounting every day.

I worry the romance may have to end. Maybe my back will become so sore that I will have to return it for a lesser model, something more gentlemanly, demure, not the wild, impetuous fling that I am currently experiencing. I fret that he may stop performing in the same magnificent manner and leave the carpet wanting. There’s angst about what an expensive habit he is, and why a mere vacuum should demand such a high price. Perhaps he will always hurt me. Perhaps I will be sucked in by his charm, his strength, his animal magnetism, and will be lost forever in his thrall.

For now, he waits downstairs for me. His canister is empty, yearning for me to turn him on, give him his freedom to do what he does so well. My back cries out for rest. My heart cries out for him. Sometimes, love sucks.