It Takes One to Solitaire

By Ellie MacBride | 

It’s a Tuesday.  I only know this because my cat knocked over a glass of water on my nightstand, waking me from a dream in which I ate six bacon cheeseburgers before walking a red carpet at some Jewish Film Festival.  I’m not Jewish.  I disregard the diverging rivers of stale tap to look at my phone.  It’s noon on a Tuesday.  I could have gotten a few more hours in if it weren’t for that damn cat.  I call her some name as if she understands me or even knows how to take offense, and she jumps on the bed to spoon.  I scoop her up like an infant and throw her across the room Shaken Baby-style, and she slides across the floor on her overgrown nails before darting into the closet.

I spend about twelve minutes looking at the ceiling and wondering when my motivation will come to shift my legs to the left and let them fall onto the hardwood floor.  I think about what I might do once my feet make contact. Go to the kitchen and fix a bowl of cereal perhaps?  How full is my bladder?  Should I go to the bathroom and then get cereal?  Or maybe condense my tasks and pee in the shower?  I’m suddenly overwhelmed with options and resort to staring at the ceiling some more.

It’s 12:45 and my bladder has decided my first plan of action.  I slide out of bed much like the spilled water’s journey from the nightstand to the floor and pick myself up to piss.  The cat follows me in and we pee in unison, which slightly grosses me out but I’m too lazy to really care.  I sing “Happy Birthday” while washing my hands; it’s not my birthday but somewhere I learned that the duration of the song is how long you’re supposed to wash your hands.  I don’t do this often; sometimes I hum “The Macarena” instead.

I spend another five minutes looking at myself in the mirror.  Do I look older than yesterday?  Am I aging faster just thinking about it?  I’m twenty-two years old but if I pretend I’m looking at another person rather than a mirror, I see my forty-six year old mother.  People say we look similar.  I think my mother is beautiful but I still tell those people to shove it.

“Laura, you can’t eat pickles for breakfast every day,” I hear her say somewhere in the crevices of my memory.

Suddenly, I crave pickles.  I sneak into the kitchen as if I don’t live alone, and mark another task done: pickles for breakfast.  I suck the juice out of a big fat one and sit on the windowsill.  Bikes wind by, picketers protest mattresses, and the same homeless man urinates in the alley below for the third day straight.

My phone rings some tone similar to that of a techno Christmas Carol and I regret answering immediately.

“Hi, is this Laura?” the mysterious voice interrogates.

“No, sorry, this is Ellie,” I try to save myself from affirmation of myself.

You see, if someone’s to ask me if I’m Laura, I’m not.  This is actually one of the reasons I started to go by “Ellie” three years ago.  People from my past might accidentally call me “Laura,” but if someone from my present does, it probably means I owe them money.   I think everyone should be whom they want to be and not whom their parents thought they might have looked like covered in placenta, three minutes after meeting them.

“Is Laura there?” the voice persists.

“No, she left awhile ago,” I existentially declare, before pressing the “End call” button as hard as I can—the cell phone equivalent of hanging up a receiver is not as powerful.  Stupid technology; it’s made it harder to express anger tele-communicatively.  Where’s that cat? I wonder.

It’s 3:30, and somehow I’ve wasted two hours on Facebook, looking at profile pictures of friends and relatives twice removed.  I’ve deleted these people twice, yet I still end up practicing the art of contemporary stalking.

“My, how the time goes,” I sigh, as seven o’clock sneaks up on me as if trying to cure my nonexistent hiccups.  I reacquaint myself with the ceiling and project the movie of my life onto it.

What a boring piece of crap!  The titles are in Helvetica and I’m in Hell.  I fast-forward to the credits and confirm that it was in fact Robert De Niro playing my father, and yes, I think he did a better job.

Something about Robert De Niro’s mole reminds me that I have somewhere to be and so I go to my closet and dig out my fishnets.  Every now and then, I dress up like a hooker and sell cigarettes and lollypops out of a tray to drunken club goers.  I almost get off on the fact that people think it’s a despicable job, and find amusement in the eclectic array of irrelevant business cards and catcalls I receive.  I just purr and tell them to tip me because it’s my birthday.

Unfortunately, people only like birthdays when they’re their own.

I get home around 3am, slightly tipsy, thanks to the bartender who I sold a $4 pack of Skittles to.  I take off most of my clothes and stumble into the kitchen to pour myself a glass of water, not because I want to, but because my last piss could have lit a Vegas street sign.  I raise my blinds and hopefully a neighbor or two as well, due to my shrinking ensemble.

I attack my bed like a flying squirrel…or some similar animal as determined and unable to fly and fall into a kaleidoscope of shapes and colors I couldn’t name.  Before I’m asleep, I awake.

It’s a Tuesday.  I only know this because my cat knocked over a glass of water from my nightstand, waking me from a dream in which I dressed up as a sexy bellhop and sold random novelty items from a tray.

Ellie MacBride is Forum’s general editor.

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