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The Black Hole

Empty purse

By Suzanne Waring

At our house, it’s called the “black hole.” Rather, that is what my husband calls it. If we are away from the house, and he wants a mint, hand cream, tissue, sanitizer, pen and paper, or maybe even a measuring tape, he tells me to look in the black hole.

Now the black hole has an exterior. It can be made of leather, woven straw, or fabric. Like its name it is usually black, even during the off-season, but it can be denim blue, red or any other color. It can be small—clutch type—medium or fairly large. Larger black holes mean that more items can disappear into its inky dark depths.

The problem is that once something disappears into the black hole, it may never be seen again. In time, the hand cream may spill and make a gooey mess. Then thankfully some airplane pretzels will fall into the black hole and absorb some hand cream. A mint that has fallen into the folds of the hole’s interior will lose its covering and turn a dusty pencil-lead black. I never know what I will encounter when, with hesitation, I reach into the black hole. But I have courage. My husband would never attempt to venture in. He refuses to even look in. No. Never, never, would he do that. When we are shopping in a store, he refuses to allow the black hole to ride near him in a shopping basket.

I always carry the black hole, and when I try to retrieve something, to be truthful, the process tells the world that I’m a disorganized domestic. I’ve had to set the black hole on the car’s fender to find my keys. Years ago, my car keys completely disappeared into the black hole when I was grocery shopping with a small child and infant along. I was looking for a telephone to call my husband when I saw a friend who took my children, my groceries, the black hole, and me home. Later I found that there was another hole at the bottom of the black hole, and the keys had decided to hide beyond where I could dig.

Black holes should be lightweight, but this hole gets heavier with passing months. It consumes items that should be thrown away, but instead they go on every outing that we take. Found within are keys for the car two vehicles back, old receipts, out-of-date coupons, pens that are out of ink, and last year’s boarding passes for an airplane trip.

I can never remember to snap shut the holes top, so objects regurgitate. In the car, the black hole tips over, and Items, such as combs, lipstick without a cover, and flash drives roll onto the floor of the car. Not long ago, I discovered under the car’s back seat a flash drive that I had accused several editors of keeping two years earlier.

When an item is to be entrusted to us, such as new photos of the grandkids, my husband could carry them. But he has only pockets that are full of items that keep him functioning. He always turns to me and says, “Put these in the black hole.” What would we do if I gave up taking the “black hole” everywhere we go? MSN

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