American_Housewife_290If someone moves to make room for you, take up more room. If someone is looking over there, there’s something to see. If somebody sneezes, run. If someone brings a bag into your home, look inside it. If you don’t want someone to leave, sit on his suitcase.

Clean between your toes. Flaunt your full figure. Hide loose change. Even though you can take care of yourself, it’s okay to let someone be nice to you. It’s fine to take a nap on the laundry.

If you stand in a kitchen long enough, someone will feed you. If you’re alone in bed, use all the pillows. Just because it’s gorgeous outside doesn’t mean you have to go outside. Just because you can fit into something tight doesn’t mean that you belong in it.

If you trust someone, open yourself like a cheap umbrella. If you want to be left alone, park yourself in a closet. If you want to surprise someone, lie in a bathtub and then jerk back the curtain when he sits on the toilet. If you’re not interested, don’t look interested. You don’t have to chase every bird that you see.

From the collection American Housewife

Helen Ellis’s stories have been published in online and print journals including The Rumpus, The Normal School, Hayden’s Ferry Review and Five Chapters. American Housewife is published by Scribner UK in hardback, eBook and audio download. Read more.

Read our interview with Helen

'Sad cat diary' by Greyloch/Wikimedia Commons