It was that time of day again. A shaft of sunlight reached the far side of her room. The shadows quivered on the wall as the leaves on the tree outside her window gripped the branches and held on for dear life. Dear life, dancing there, on the mustard colored wall of her make-believe gallery. The afternoon sun slid down between the shutter slats creating thin slivers stacked up in a corner of the room before disappearing from the canvas. She closed her eyes. She could still see the shadows. She drew a long breath. The air was stale. She coughed. She slept.
Morning came too soon, and the familiar sound of the ratting window jolted her awake.
Cursing the window was a waste of a curse. She knew this, but it was part of her routine. She’d meant to have it fixed. Now she didn’t see the point. It would outlast her and she didn’t care what happened to it after she was gone. It would be someone else’s problem. That thought made her smile. Not my problem, she thought, and just then the memory of an old lover leapt across her mind. “He’s not my problem any more either.” And with that, she threw off the covers.
The wind made a flapping sound on the vent in the bathroom. She dressed in the dark and bumped into the wall before heading to the kitchen to start the coffee. Her reflection in the toaster smiled back at her as she tried to flatten her hair with her hand. The cow lick she’d struggled to tame all her life had turned into what looked like a camel’s hump on the side of her head. She didn’t care. She saw it for what it really was, her father had called it her “personality plus.” She loved how he could always make her think about her flaws as something positive. He himself had several. His limp, which he called his “dreamy dance,” because it made him look like he was moving in two directions at once; and his small left arm was the “angel’s helper.” He’d had polio as a child. He was lucky, he’d told her, some kids didn’t make it.
That luck must have rubbed off on her over the years. Her life had been a contact sport and yet, she’d managed to survive two husbands and most of the friends she’d known. It was easy to keep up with who was left. The lady at the market, Rita, who she’d befriended when she first moved into the village and Fred, the gentleman who lived next door. She and Fred had become friends while chatting over the fence about zinnias. Plus, they had a common enemy, the young man who drove down their street like he was qualifying for NASCAR. Two friends, one enemy, it was easy enough. Everything seemed easy; everything except facing the end of another day alone.
For my grandmother, who listened to the Statler Brothers constantly. It was the only album she owned. Just this once. I promise. 🙂