A Day
Dec 23 2012

So is the day where everything is supposed to come together. She rests her head on the shoulder next to her, eyes half-closed, a red hoodie on her stomach. The sun and the smell of donuts and coffee makes it warm in here.

The woman on her left looks surprisingly familiar. Whose mother is this? She thinks of many women at the same time, their collectively slim face, their bold patterned scarve loosely around the neck, and next to them, their grey-haired husband. Their rented car surrounding the only B&B in that small college town; their footsteps treading on the floor of the town gallery, eyes wandering about the paintings of horses; their white napkin unfolded across the lap as a son or daughter nodded languishly to a piece of unsoliciated advice.

The images disappear the moment she smells grease and ketchup. She turns her head and finds the husband eating an egg and sausage platter two seats down.

She looks away to avoid judgement. Her sleepish gaze meets the guy across the aisle, who has been staring at the ceiling by himself. The ceiling of this airport reminds her of a cathedral, only brighter. The sun shines in from the highest points of the identical vaults, onto the spotless TGIF tables where bottles of Heinz and boxes full of napkins occupy the center. She pauses at the symmetry - is it coincidental or is there a mastermind?

It’s a holiday. It’s a ritual to recount her life. She works at a nonprofit where people still talk about putting up web forums on the organization’s new website. She has recently acquired a bike for free. It squeaks whenever she brakes. She still wears her two-year-old sneakers with a worn sole. Everything breaks at some point, just not yet. Her boyfriend sits by her. His shoulder moves, attempting to hide the slight discomfort. She knows, and picks up her head.

He owns a home improvment buisness, which serves the city well. Block after block after block, the young families come and bring him the business. She remembers one bar the year they started dating. The bars have since spread, like a strong and alcoholic fungus, populating the corner store, the firehouse, the empty lot, and the funeral home.

Children have started to play in the backyards, their faces hidden behind the tall fences. Some things change slower than others. Some faces remain invisible. Whenever she walks pass by the sound of a giggle, she could only imagine the cheeks as bright as hibiscus flowers on that same face.

She came to the city to pursue nothiing but a claim, which she had hoped to save for the years to come, that she had once lived in a big place. Waiting is a way she lives. She waits for the bus, for the train. For the day to be over, for the show to start, for her eyes to feel heavy. For the morning. For the toast to get firmer. For the coffee to brew even though the beans from the grocery store never tastes good. Waiting. Today she waits to board the plane.

So is the day like every other day. She looks out at the huge machines running seamlessly. Things do come together, with or without her. She feels drowsy again, smelling marshmallows on top of the sweet potatoes.

Happy Thanksgiving.