You begin to understand why people have a favorite day of the week when she enters your life. You are sedate, a bearish den mother collecting your people and your things around you. You like your teapot to rest just so on the corner of the counter beside the fruit bowl. You prefer things to be in order and clean. Your nights of debaucherous drinking produce a heavy trip down to the recycling bins the next morning, not an acquaintance with strangers’ toilet bowls.
She is a migrant, a traveler, a pick-up-and-leave kind of girl. But she doesn’t, not quite, not too far. She is like a tiger on a nature reserve, loping up to the fence and turning her back coolly on it, pretending she doesn’t see the bridges and boats and planes that lead out of New York City. She’s the small-town girl of the Big Apple, bred to be a house-cat in confined spaces, the feral rippling beneath her skin.
She doesn’t understand you and you don’t want her to. She thinks you’re a mystery. She finds you charming, endearing. These adjectives aren’t generally applied to you and you welcome them, and her, with arms thrown wide, embracing the neon pink baggage she brings with her.
When she rings your doorbell, her hair floating softly in your view through the peephole, you discover what butterflies must feel like when they burst out of their cocoons. She gives you wings when she walks over your threshold and places her hands firmly down the back of your pants, lifting you up enough to touch the low-hung ceiling of your apartment. She stays for tea after tasting you. If it is a Tuesday, that is your favorite day that week.
If she comes on the weekends, you know she will arrive with others, sometimes kissing them in front of you, and you become acquainted with all the spots on your walls and the stains on your kitchen floor. You bring around drinks and snacks and turn into a plastic model of your mother who does these things with grace and affection. Your bitterness, you’re sure, can be tasted in the cocktails, in the crackers, in the guacamole you tarry over for far too long.
The weeks she doesn’t come at all are worse than the weeks she ignores you in your own house.
This is how far you’ve fallen.
This is how far you have to climb out.
You wonder if you have any interest in finding a ladder, in making a rope of your hair and using it to climb out. If you do manage to scrape yourself out of the whole, what will you find out there? Won’t it be bleak? You’ve gotten used to this.
You like having a favorite day of the week.