Wednesday, October 17, 2007


On a good day she can wait until she gets home to have her first cigarette. Savoring each, cancerous, drag from the comfort of the couch while her man fixes dinner and the cats clamor for attention. She is warm and safe and dry. The day is over, she can kick her shoes off under the coffee table and disengage herself from the world outside.

On a bad day, on a day when work has beaten her down and she can feel the contact lenses grating against her dry eyes, she lights up as she exits the building. Or, sometimes she waits to realize that the bus will not be soon to arrive. Odd work hours mean missing the rush of rush hour but it also means buses and trains may be few and far between. These are the days she shuffles through her ipod, waiting for the bus, until she finds Tom Waits and will listen to him croon about how hard it is to grow up.

The weather is, generally, irrelevant to her mood on work days. She usually only sees the outside on her way to work and her desk is nowhere near any of the plate glass windows that overlook the city (and a glimmer of the lake to the east.) Her days are grey. The walls are grey, the carpets are grey. As are the chairs and most of the conversations she overhears around her. She colors those grey with her mind because she would rather not care what people are talking about than get caught up in the mundane bullshit of office politics and small talk. Besides, the grey voices are rarely speaking to her anyway. They're rarely speaking to each other, mostly they are talking to hear their own voices.

It is these days, these grey cigarette days, when she is most grateful for her home. For the light and sounds, for the company of love and cats. Even when it involves nothing more than reading a book while baseball plays on TV it is, at least, illuminated. It is, at least, real. She is grateful even for too many pairs of shoes kicked off beneath the coffee table and too many dishes piled in the sink. She can savor dinner in a way that the leftovers for lunch will be impossible to enjoy - with a glass of wine and conversation containing more colors than...not a rainbow, because that's silly. But more colors than her grey days could ever hope to contain.

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