Not A Good Day!
Not wanting to go through it again, thinking, If I’m gone when she gets up, maybe it’ll give her a chance to cool off and she’ll be in a better mood when I get home, Mitchell got out of bed at 5:30, took a quick shower, shaved and dressed.
Though it was still dark in the room, he stood beside the crib a few minutes listening to the sound of Michael’s breathing while looking at the white shadow of the covered lump that he knew was his baby, all the while fighting an urge to pick him up and hold him in his arms because he had an urgent need to tell him, “I love you, Mikey, my baby. I love you.” Only when he felt the constriction in his throat and burning behind his eyes did he turn away.
Going to the closet, groping for his jacket and a tie—as his clothing was all inter-matched—any tie.
The tie hanging loosely about his neck, the jacket draped across his arm, walking to the door, opening it, stepping into the hallway Mitchell closed the door silently behind him.
On this Saturday he had taken three leads, the first being at nine.
As he waited for the elevator, wondering, How in the hell am I going to get through this day feeling as shitty as I feel?
Knowing Eli usually left for work at about this time, certainly not in the mood for small talk, or really any kind of talk, especially with his father-in-law, Mitchell hoped Eli did not take this same elevator on his way downstairs.
Outside—appropriately to his mood—the dawning day was overcast with a thick layer of dark clouds. The streets still wet from the last rainfall, no more than two minutes into the walk to his car in this congested neighborhood the clouds ripped and it began to rain.
By the time he unlocked the door, his clothing wet, Mitchell felt just as bad physically as mentally.
Having a bit less than three hours to kill, he found an open grill on Lawrence Avenue.
Remembering Ruby’s good advice—Ruby! Oh, God! Missing Ruby! Needing a friend, needing a good friend to talk to!—Mitchell ordered the Truckers Special: three eggs—fried in lard, not doubt—with four chubby sausage links—undoubtedly stuffed with, besides other doubtful stuff, lard—hash brown potatoes, dripping with, what else but lard—along with two slices of toasted rye bread oozing, what?—most probably lard—as well as all the coffee he could drink.
Sitting in a booth next to a sweating, steam-opaqued window that he rubbed a circular clearing on with a napkin, that he looked out of every few minutes, Mitchell killed almost two hours over breakfast thinking of Marsha and, “I want you out of here!” and wondering if she really meant it. And if she did, why? Thinking: Because, I didn’t do anything all that bad! Searching his mind, Really, I didn’t do anything that bad! Bad enough for her to want a… NO! It’s not possible that she’d want a divorce! Why? Because I didn’t get up to help her with Mikey? Because once in a while I ask her to, once in a while be courteous to my folks? Why?
Actually, Mitchell harped on this or allied subjects more often than he realized; if not coming straight out and saying it, then continually dropping what he considered to be subtle, all but—so he thought—subliminal hints, that, really, to Marsha, had the subtlety of dynamite that, in Marsha’s thoughts: Annoy the shit out of me!
Thinking, Why? Because we got bills and I’m not making lots’a money? I try, god-damn-it, I try! And if she can’t see that then fuck her!
Subliminal or not! His nagging aside, neither Marsha nor Mitchell considered that they might be…That they were being manipulated by their mothers! Or, of course, that Marsha may have the as-of-yet undiagnosed symptoms of premenstrual and/or postpartum depression syndrome.
So now, his thoughts vacillating between feeling sorry for himself and indignation at Marsha… But yet, through self-pity and anger, Mitchell felt a extremely sad, heavy weight in the pit of his stomach, and that weight had nothing to do with three eggs, four chubby sausage links, hash brown potatoes and two slices of rye toast, even if they had been fried in, stuffed with, or oozing lard.
When the five mugs of coffee began to backwash into his throat, when the manager of the place began giving him will-you-get-the-fuck-out-here looks, going into the toilet, Mitchell rid himself of at least two mugs of coffee. But, of course, not the residual effects of the caffeine contained in five mugs of trucker-strong coffee that kicked his kidneys into a gear that would keep him looking—desperately at times—for a toilet throughout this entire miserable day.
After paying his bill, hoping for a break in the rain, Mitchell stood just inside the doorway for a few minutes, then ran to the car.
The rain pounding with a solid tattoo that on the canvas roof sounded as pulsing thunder.
©October 15, 2012 / Mark M. Lichterman