by Meg Tuite
A vision of numberless, cold plates sit on tables with the scattered remains of potatoes, carrots and bones. How many hands hold forks in bleary kitchens with peat-green wallpaper and embroidered sayings encased in plastic frames? Each thread stitched through those embroidery circles with knobby knuckles that beast with the stretch of arthritic angst all fevered through one hundred hours of forgotten husbands and a knot tied in the back of the linen for every lover never done.
A fogged travesty of these desperate dreams splay out into the damp atmosphere, multiplying through the rain-soaked soot-ridden avenues. Pedestrians who dare to walk these sidewalks spiral into cacklings of empty hope. Without knowing why, these people splash through puddles, glutted with aches of unfilled fixations. They look around at this invisible collusion that links their plight like holding hands with the multitude as though one’s weight wasn’t enough.
The rain and winds rise like the sounds of Mahler. The winding trances of the woodwinds. The battling wail of the flutes. The lurking of brass surrounds them. Damn. Sunday night is a brute force.
The sinking doom of Monday imprisons me with its rattling monotony–it’s migraine pace. It is the conspiratorial rasp of the clock that snickers at the numb tread of the manswarm looping over the same track of impunity.
The embroidered stitches state: Everyday is a gift. There’s a rainbow after every storm. No fartin’ in the hot-tub. (We never had a hot-tub). I stare at the three 5 by 7 black framed linen sayings showcased in rigid equanimity across the wall and wonder. Who the hell was my mother?
I sit in the kitchen with a fork dangling in my fingers and look out. There is dim light coming from another kitchen. A hunched figure sits over another plate, looks out the window. At another figure, who sits picking at vegetables.
I wait. Something trods on my chest. It’s Sunday night and there’s the embroidery and the pelting rain. I decide to call some long-gone lover. I search through piles of papers in desk drawers, remember there was something. The clock continues to tick like some crazed itch that wakes me in the middle of the night.
I drink that dusty tequila sitting behind doilies in a cabinet. Where and when did I actually feel the need to buy doilies? I call the lover and listen to my heartbeat, a cannon now, with each ring that no one answers. I find a cigarette and no matches. I light up from the stove and singe my hair. I don’t even bother to get a glass. I sit at the table again, swig tequila and puff on a cigarette as old as a stitch in time.
I stay up until four am. I stare out the window and wonder if someone is looking back. The empty bottle of tequila is just another sign that I don’t have a hot-tub, so I take off my shirt instead.
Monday creeps up. It brains me like the end of a film when the lights go on. The alarm clock has a zen-like chime that doesn’t bring a softer now, although it does bring now. My bed creaks. I get in my Monday costume. Easy to disappear in. I go out into the street.
I look up. Gray as the gray of a day. So Monday, it’s obscene. I walk until I get on a bus. I am on a bus with a crowd of people. We don’t talk. We look down. We look away. We pretend to read things. It’s Monday. It hurts.