Tina plopped down onto the couch and set her coffee on the table in front of her. Her sister insisted on calling her each and every Thursday morning at 7am. Tina had no need for such ongoing contact but Rachael needed to continue to weave the thread of their lives. And so Tina woke in time to shower, made coffee and got everything ready to leave for work the instant she was done with her familial obligation. She was obligated.
“And so, this Jared guy,” she asked. “Why did you say you wanted to meet him?”
Tina put her sister on speaker and turned to look out the window of her apartment where her neighbors had started their days. At her middle level in the city’s pecking order, she was afforded views into other windows where mostly stylish people were readying themselves to attack whatever dreams brought them or kept them in the city. She liked to watch the woman with the white dog and red couch. The width of the street between them and the tint of their windows kept this viewing only mildly invasive. The woman appeared each morning in a robe, then back and forth, which Tina assumed meant she was making coffee and maybe showering. On one of the round trips she would appear in some sort of athletic wear. In summer that meant shorts and in winter she added a heavy down coat. She’d scoop up her dog and disappear. Tina was always gone by whatever time the woman reappeared. At night the women close her heavy draped depriving Tina from knowing more.
“I thought you were done dating guys who were good-looking. What about quality of their soul? I swear that’s what you said last month.”
Tina listened to her sister protest as she continued her check-in with her neighbors. The guy in expensive suits who made such brief appearances as he passed through what must be his living room. Tina was blocked from anything more intimate. Onto the family with rowdy toddlers. They must have had triplets, the morning chaos seemed so out of control.
“Uh hum. Yeah, I’m busy at work but I’m going away for the weekend,” she said, holding up her end of the conversation. “That rich friend with the house on the beach. I really don’t know what she sees in me, but I’m invited again. I love pretending that’s my life.”
Tina liked to hear her sister laugh and wished she’d hear it more often. But, alas, like every week, her sister had invited a dark cloud to hang over her life. Men, bad girlfriends, a stupid job. If Tina were able to talk to her sister in person, she’d shake her shoulders and tell her to quit this shit. Get a life, a real one, a good one.
“Okay, love you too. Next week. Ciao, ciao.”
It always took Tina a few minutes to bring herself back into her own happiness and leave her sister’s behind. She took a breath, grabbed her bag and headed downstairs.