Her husband worked late and her daughter was made of clothes and music so Miranda decided to arrange the calendar to accommodate herself. That grid of numbers in a sea of unremarkable white space.
On Monday, she locked the bathroom door and ran a bath. Taps full open until musky bubbles crept up and over the tub’s lip. When the water cooled, she slipped below the surface. Her pulse echoed off the hard, white, walls.
Tuesday, Miranda unplugged the phone, pushed the sports magazines to the far end of the couch and started the first season of Buffy. The Chosen One. Endlessly slaying, as if the world wasn’t asking enough of the girl already. Just like breathing. Stake in, stake out. She clicked off the remote and headed for the kitchen when her daughter’s key rattled in the door.
Thursday was Walmart for groceries. A woman with unsettled teeth drifted in and out of a changing room, modelling outfits for her partner in the common area in between. Miranda didn’t hold back or excuse herself. She said she looked like a perfect summer’s day. She needed to know these words.
The following Wednesday, after pressing and smoothing the shirts onto hangers, Miranda drove downtown and spent the afternoon at the cinema. Of the coins in her wallet, she spent all but 1.25 on admission and candy. She counted the steps to the washroom then counted backward to her seat. When the man in the lobby asked her what she thought of the film, she said yes to a coffee. Outside the dusk-thick window at the cafe she thought she recognized her daughter laughing.
In the carpark, she ordered Indian takeout from the new restaurant on the high street for dinner. She wanted cinnamon and coriander to fill the car, she wanted to ride this wake on the cold drive home. A reckless performance. The curry, bold, stubborn even, pushing against foil lids, seeping, golden edge ready to nick a cuff, smear the upholstery. As if knowing, the owner double bagged her order. The curry will stain everything, Miss, it’s very hard to get out. Miranda accepted the extra napkins. Stuffed them in her coat pocket. They’ll always need more.
Kim Murdock is an emerging writer living in Ontario, Canada. Her stories have appeared or are forthcoming in Ellipsis Zine, Bending Genres, 100 Word Story, Blink-Ink, The Drabble, and elsewhere. Find her on Twitter @herselfKim