"Of course, there was emptiness at her departure. It was as if a ghostly wind had swept through the Win Tiki restaurant where I worked and left me without a vodka collins... only a glass with three ice cubes and a sky blue stir stick."

They had known each other for the better and worse parts of six years. Their lives became so intertwined that when she left, her possessions seemed to resemble his own when they landed in the back of her brother's pick-up truck. He watched from an upstairs window with just a purple jumper and socks on. He swirled the non-existent ice cubes in his rocks glass and stared while they loaded the truck. He wondered why she would choose this moment to leave.

The lights in the room cast funny shadows. He noticed, but he had noticed before. After all, he had locked himself into the upstairs apartment three months earlier and refused to come down. There was enough beef jerky and five gallon jugs of very warm spring water to keep him alive for some time while he wrote his memoirs.

Time would pass, and he had plenty of it. Six months later he completed his memoirs and descended from his lofty perch. With a claw hammer, he extracted the fifteen nails he originally used to seal the door between the staircase and the upstairs apartment. The nails had served him well in his efforts to keep Elaina away from his secret work. She would never understand. She was too interested in love, relationships, walks in the park, having lobster dinners down at the beach and watching Friends. Now, he was alone.

The house was empty. Even the furniture was gone.

He expected something to this effect, but never the absence of all things. The downstairs rooms were a terrible mess, a blight of unattended and unfulfilled promises. The knee deep shag carpet in the living room was being explored by sentient dust bunnies. The kitchen was not much better, and yet the sight of spilled spaghetti sauce and broken glass in the center of the room reminded him that Elaina had never possessed the dexterity to cook Italian food. It was the way of things.

It was time to pick up and begin a new life. A life about more than love and happiness. A life about deeper things. He gazed upon his surroundings and wondered how he would pull it all together. He wandered into the dining room and found his answers. Below the deteriorating chandelier that hung precariously from the ceiling was just the contraption he needed to return to the downstairs rooms and live. Really live.

He took four steps towards it and verified his original summary of what he had discovered. The almighty Hoover was fully functional and ready to get to work. Morning had spoken. Like a neon light on the new day.

Nothing she ever did moved him as much as the vacuum she left.

It was the latest model Rainbow E-Series Wet/Dry with retractable cord. How I had marveled at the dexterity with which she could get into the tight corners with that baby. We had previously owned a Eureka Oxygen Upright 6230, but when the Rainbow came into our dusty lives, the Eureka was sold at a garage sale for a tenth of what we paid for it. Who cared about money when particulates were involved?

Using water, nature's most powerful element (aside from love), the Rainbow E-Series had given our home a new life. As I would sit in the Barcalounger watching bowling every Saturday afternoon, she would be grinning like a ginny waving the Rainbow wand above the curtains and attaching the Crevice Tool in order to suck the potato chip and pretzel and cracker crumb leavings from each side of my recliner. She would lean over and kiss the top of my attractively balding combed-over head as the Rainbow E-Series inhaled my weekend debris.

It could be argued that the Rainbow E-Series, the world's most advanced cleaning system, became the heart of our marriage. Once she misplaced the Floor and Wall Brush and it required counseling every day for two weeks until it turned up in the garage. I had been using it to retrieve a sock lost behind the dryer and had forgotten about it. (This may have been the Genesis of our demise.) From then on, she never put the Rainbow E-Series away without checking to make sure the Upholstery Tool, Dusting Brush, "Fwoopie Brush" (her pet name now that it had been retrieved from Purgatory behind the dryer), Crevice Tool, Inflator/Coil Cleaner Tool and the Attachment Caddy were all in place and as clean as our oh-so deep pile rugs.

The neighbors would kid us about the price of this machine. They would bring out their Kirbys and Phantoms and brag about how many hundreds of dollars less they had paid than we had spent for the Rainbow E-Series. It is true that the salesman might have convinced her more than he did me. After all, I am a more discerning shopper. But I'll be darned if I wasn’t ready to run off to Vegas with him, too, after that sterling demonstration where he dropped his pants and simulated a bowel movement as he unsnapped a hidden diaper contraption which released various soiling agents into our carpet. The theatre was perfect. She was laughing like I'd never seen her laugh before. Of course, the Rainbow E-Series swept the debris up and that patch of carpet was as clean as Lorne Greene's conscience. It made the rest of the room look unworthy. So we wrote the salesman a check as he stood there, a full foot taller than me, and gleamed that Rainbow Grin.

He kept calling after we'd made the purchase. I assumed it was to provide us with some sort of Service Agreement, although the Rainbow E-Series should have been embarrassed by the concept.

I guess you know the rest of the story. It was a Service agreement he was selling, all right, but it was to service my wife in a hotel room in Las Vegas for a few days. I talked to her last Wednesday and told her there would be no need in coming home. She was as filthy to me now as a 6-month old HEPA filter.

I decided yesterday to get some revenge and satisfaction by allowing the Rainbow E-Series to inhale my lonely member, much as she must be enjoying doing likewise out West with her new lover. Fourteen stitches and one testicle later, it was hard for me to see how this did much more than add to my misery.

That is one powerful little beauty. When the stitches come out, I think I'll try it with the Fwoopie Brush. That should cushion the intake.

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