By Ana Staska
Escaping the humidity at last, I collapse on the sofa, dead weight melting into the cool white leather. She brings me water and sits on the stone ledge of the fireplace, lighting a blue American Spirit, handing it to me, and lighting another. She waits for words.
I tell her I hate life. I’ve gained weight. None of my clothes fit, and what I’m wearing is filthy. I quit my job, grandma. I have no money, no air conditioning in my bedroom, and I haven’t slept for three days. I tell her that he says it’s over, but he’s lingering. He slept on the couch the other night. On the couch. I can’t even take a shower. It’s been on my to-do-list for a week. I actually have to write “shower” and “get dressed” on my to-do-lists these days.
She snuffs her cigarette, sips from my water glass, and asks if she can wash my feet. The way she did when I was a little girl with long snarled hair. She sits cross-legged on the carpet by my feet with a steaming bucket of soapy water, a rag hanging over the side. I close my eyes. Sigh. Legs dangling over the edge in her thin soft hands as she pulls away layers of negativity, slowly, out through the soles of my feet, the dirt wrung into murky water. She smoothes rose oil into my arches, my ankles, between my toes.
She talks to me about Jesus, and this time, I don’t mind.