I press my cup against the testy dispenser on the fridge and tinkling cubes tumble down the chute. The kitchen glows. The pillows on our couch have been plumped. Thanks to Estela, who comes every couple of weeks—when she remembers, that is, and can get herself here from across town in her Datsun, which is tired, she explains, and in constant need of repair—I can study my new jowls in the microwave’s dust-free mirrored door. Don’t get me wrong. I like Estela. What’s more, I trust her. I am grateful for the tidy piles of change she arranges by the bed and the gummy earplugs she retrieves from between the sheets. I marvel at the way she combs the snarls out of my hairbrush. No matter how hard I try, for that matter, I cannot master Estela’s inimitable technique for balling socks. But it is hard to work, I find, when Estela is here, working so hard—so much harder, to all appearances, than I am—with that smirk of unfathomable peace across her face.
Copyright © 2016 Suzanne Buffam
Used with the permission of Canarium Books.