Dowry.

Today I sent out the final payment for what we’ve been calling our “marriage debt.” (I know, in certain overwrought historical romances, “marriage debt” means something quite different. That’s why it’s funny.) We still owed some money to the place we rented out for the weekend, and so we paid it.

Does it feel good? Why yes. Yes it does. Especially considering that we only got married in October of last year, we got off pretty well as far as debt goes. Not too shabby. Thanks are due entirely to our parents for that, of course. And of course we had a terrific wedding — in this big old house, overlooking the ocean, at sunset. There was a great big rainbow that was reflected in the water, so we had this huge crazy rainbow mobius strip effect, although it didn’t come out in any of the pictures. And then two swans came swimming by the little cove we overlooked. And the sunset was the most amazing blazing red and orange thing you’ve ever seen. It rained and rained the day before and the day after the wedding, but it was beautiful, crisp and clear on the day itself.

It was really great.

Then we had an outstanding honeymoon in Vermont and Montreal. The World Series was underway, and we’re kind of crazy Yankees fans. The Yankees won the game that we watched in public (gloat gloat), and we were safely locked up in our hotel room in Montreal when they lost it all (sulk). We got over it. Then we went out to our favorite pub down the street, where they were watching… hockey. I ask you. Hockey was the only thing to be seen on any tv screen we came across on Catherine Street that night, the last night of the World Series. It was like… we were in another country, or something!

Today I cleaned the bathroom — you know, really went to town on it. Yanked out the shower curtain, liner, and suction-cup-mat, bleached the hell out of everything, rubber gloves up to my elbows, scrubscrubscrubscrubscrub. It was awesome. If you plan on visiting my bathroom any time soon, make sure you’ve got your sunglasses on. Don’t look directly at any porcelain object, or you may experience severe retinal burns. It’s just that clean.

When I do this sort of day-long, evil-chemical-intensive, somewhat-mentally-ill attack on dirt and mildew, I always cap it off by replacing the menagerie of soap chips in the soap dish with a brand-new, unsullied, fresh bar of soap. Don’t ask. Ritual is crazily important to me.

I reached into the cabinet under the sink for a family-sized, 99 and 44/100% pure (!) bar of ivory soap; rearranged the jumbled assortment of razors, nail polish remover bottles, and Q-Tips; even re-wound that damn cord around the blow drier that neither of us ever use.

Nothing. We were out of soap.

Naturally, this sent me into a brief but controlled tizzy. The job simply wouldn’t be DONE until I had placed the Bar of Soap into the Recently-Cleaned Soap Dish. I went into the bedroom to get my coat, since I was apparently going to the store.

But soft! Under my nightstand, tucked behind my secret stash of trashy fantasy novels, lay a white plastic bag. I pulled it out and opened it up. It was full of purloined toiletries from all the hotels we stayed in on our honeymoon!

Savon desodorisant boudine a la francaise. Ginger-lemongrass moisturizing lotion. Aloe-chamomile bath salts. Citron body wash, claiming to benefit the rain forest in some unnamed fashion. And for the Recently-Cleaned Soap Dish, a pristine bar of emollient bath soap with “Marriot” rendered in lovely cursive letters on the top.

Go on, feel free to use my bathroom. I have nothing to hide.

But watch out, because it’s soft, and smooth, and smells like sweet sweet honeymoon lovin’ in there.

And for God’s sake, don’t forget your sunglasses.

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