This is how it happened, and this is what I found.
I was lying on the floor of my boyfriend’s bedroom watching Judge Judy, and he was taking a shower in the next room. Although I had his bedroom all to myself for the next half an hour, at a bare minimum, snooping was the furthest thing from my mind.
Then I heard a slither-and-thunk sound coming from my boyfriend’s bedroom closet.
My boyfriend was a strange combination of neat freak and hoarder. I was watching television on the floor because the stacks of dusty books and papers covering every inch of his bed made it an unsuitable resting place. He couldn’t even sleep on it.
Yet, despite the clutter that had taken over every flat surface of his bedroom, the clothes in his closet were neatly hung and sorted by style, size, and color. He stored every pair of shoes in its original box on the top shelf. Neckties and belts hung in the back against the far wall.
The slither and subsequent thunk I’d heard was the sound of one of his belts sliding off the closet rod and hitting the floor. He always kept one of the closet doors open, the one on the left side. Vibrations and gravity must have conspired to pull the belt off its perch.
I crawled over to the open closet door and peered into the darkness. Surely he wouldn’t want me to leave his belt lying there on the floor, out of order and away from its counterparts. I figured I ought to pick it up and replace it where it belonged. You know, to be nice.
But when I touched the fallen belt, I saw something interesting lying beneath it on the floor at the back of the closet. It was a framed photograph, and there was something written on the reverse side.
My traitorous hands picked up the framed photo, sliding it out from beneath the belt in which I’d already lost interest.
Someone had taken a picture of my boyfriend and his ex-girlfriend on what appeared to be her eighteenth or nineteenth birthday. She had really pretty hair that was as long, thick, and luxurious as any model in a Pantene shampoo commercial.
They didn’t look close or comfortable. It was an awkward photo that did not, in my estimation, deserve to be framed and saved, and there was the matter of that message scrawled on the back.
“I appreciate you’re [sic] help. I love you.”
What kind of stupid message was that? Her name was signed beneath the message. From his anecdotes about his exes, I knew exactly which one she was.
I picked up the belt and replaced it on the rack. Then I pushed the framed photo back into its ultimate resting place at the back of the closet, minus the wide swathes of dust that had rubbed off on my fingers.
By the time my boyfriend returned from his shower, I was on the horns of a dilemma. Should I tell him what I’d done and what I’d found, or should I pretend not to have moved from the spot during the time he was gone?
I decided to tell him. My decision was based mostly on those telltale spots on the framed photo where years of dust had been dislodged by my prying fingers. On the one hand, he probably wouldn’t notice. On the other hand, if he did notice, I was going to look bad.
“While you were in the shower, one of your belts fell in the closet,” I said. “I picked it up for you, and I found a picture of your ex-girlfriend on the bottom of your closet. Oops, I didn’t mean to… but I looked at it.”
And you know what? He wasn’t even mad about it.
As long as I’d entered the closet with good intentions, he said, and only then noticed the photograph, then he didn’t mind. If, on the other hand, I’d gone snooping through his closet on purpose… well, that was kind of creepy.
I agreed, and I confirmed that I hadn’t meant to snoop around his closet, but upon spotting the framed photo tucked away in the darkness, I couldn’t resist. And that was it — he dropped the subject and never mentioned it again.
As far as snooping stories go, I’d say mine had an uncommonly happy ending.
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