Monday, November 8, 2010


Someone somewhere is washing dishes right now, plunging her hands into hot, soapy water, feeling the sludge on the bottom of a pan that used to be the drippings from a pound of bacon fried up crisp. Her strong arm scrubs out her frustration as bubbles lift up into the air.

Somewhere else is a new mother nursing her baby, her nipples sore and cracked. The baby's wobbly head holds still against her chest, and his sweet scent soothes the tired mother. She wishes her baby would sleep. She wishes she could sleep.

In another part of town, a mechanic tightens a gasket and wishes once again that he could move to Austin.

An aerobics instructor leads a step class, the microphone loose around her head. She wishes the gym would get a better one, so she wouldn't have to keep adjusting it.

A teacher grades her last papers of the day. She is underwhelmed by this lot. Of course, she was underwhelmed by the last lot, and the lot before that. She wonders if it's time to retire.

A clerk at the grocery store scans cat food (bleep!), nasal spray (bleep!), breath mints (bleep!), and paper towels (bleep!). After scanning the order, the clerk thinks his life is marginally better than the guy in front of him, if only in comparison to what the poor bloke just bought.

And someone somewhere waits. That is not all she does; in fact, she has a long list of tasks to accomplish to keep her mind off of the telephone. She does laundry, she shops, she plans a birthday party, she writes a long overdue letter. She plans a new scene, though she doesn't yet gather the courage to write it. She plucks the leaves off stalks of thyme that she dried from the summer's harvest. Leaf by leaf by leaf until her nose clogs with the scent of it and her hands become sticky with the oil...killing time with thyme.

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