Rainy Tuesdays

Rain by Gabriele Diwald (CC)
Rain by Gabriele Diwald (CC BY 2.0)

On rainy Tuesdays, She walks to the neighborhood newsstand to pick up the newest romance novel.

She walks on the left side of the street, keeping close to the fences and clipped hedges. On the right, where the sidewalk is wider and cleaner, she always runs into a stray dog that barks and shows his teeth to her. He’s yellow and has a big plastic earring clipped to his left ear, souvenir from the city vet.

She’s afraid of the dog and once even did the unthinkable–skipped a rainy Tuesday trip to the newsstand. That week was unbearable.

On Wednesdays she makes pasta with tomato sauce of her own invention. She makes the pasta from scratch. It’s therapy. And something to do. It takes a long time because she wants it to take a long time. She savors it. It feels good to use her hands in the dough, kneading and stretching it until she can feel it’s ready to become something. Even dough wants to become something.

On Thursdays she listens to music after work. She streams it from an online service, taking the hassle of having to choose out of the game. The music takes her somewhere else, somewhere better. Maybe not better, but definitely different.

On Fridays she has coffee with the Neighbor. The Neighbor is much older and talks incessantly about dead people. Dead aunts, dead uncles, dead friends, dead coworkers, dead parents, dead grandparents, dead actors, dead musicians she loved once, a lifetime ago. Everyone in the Neighbor’s life is dead, it seems. Even the Neighbor sometimes seems dead, with her shriveled skin and sunken, tiny eyes that have just enough light in them to prevent the undertaker from carrying her out of the apartment in a simple wooden box.

On Fridays She also sees Him. He pumps gas across the street. Every Friday, at exactly the same time. He’s tall and thin in that weird modern way that allows people to be both skinny and fat at the same time. His face and arms are thin, but some parts of him, just above his belt, seem pudgy and bloated.

He has a dog. A large, floppy-eared dog that seems as old as his car. His car is from the 1980s, with a YU sticker on the back. Below that, a SCG sticker, and below that, a small EU sticker, blue, with tiny yellow stars.

The dog sits on the back seat while he pumps gas. He pumps without making eye contact with anyone. He regards the tips of his shoes. In the summer, rubber slip-ons that make his feet look like they belong to a clown down on his luck. In the winter, old booths with broken zippers and worn out soles.

She only has coffee with the Neighbor in order to see him, pass him, glance at him, speechless and invisible to everyone except the dog in the back seat.

On Saturdays she thinks about Fridays. Plans, big plans. Next time, she’ll talk to him. She’ll say something about the dog. She’ll make a joke about the car, and the funny stickers on the back. Maybe not, that could offend him. So what? At least that’s something, something that isn’t nothing.

On Sundays she does her laundry. Everyone everywhere in the world does laundry on Sundays. It’s the law, at least for people who work. And she works. Not very hard, not with her heart. She dreads it, the work, and the prospect of it on Monday, less than 24 hours in the future. The entire day is filled with dread, a real, palpable feeling that throbs in her belly. If she could sleep through the next day, she would. But that couldn’t be explained to the Woman in Charge at Work. The Woman in Charge at Work is all business, serious and angry at the world, hating Monday and every day that comes after it. No point trying to explain to her, or lie to her, or plead with her, or anything else. She’ll just have to go to the job she hates for the rest of her life. Or, until they get sick of her yellow face and flat hair.

On Mondays she wakes up early and has a strong cup of coffee in front of the TV. The morning news are a blast, always. But, at least they make her life seem less…miserable, dangerous, pointless. The morning news give her a boost, a necessary lift. Without the morning news, she couldn’t get out of her apartment on Monday.

On rainy Tuesdays, She walks to the neighborhood newsstand.

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