Thirty Two Minutes to Washtenaw
That meant she had forty two minutes until 3 o'clock, which meant she had thirty two minutes to get to Washtenaw Avenue across from the school. There was no time to lose because she had to go to the orthodontist, then home for dinner and some homework, then Cub Scouts.
It was nice that her youngest, a preschooler, was potty trained and now in preschool. That meant she had a whole glorious two and a half hours all to herself, which meant by herself. Today she spoiled herself. She would not dare tell her mother-in-law who looked down her nose on her messy house.
"When the kids sleep, you clean."
Today, when the kids were in school, she took a nap.
She had a few minutes before she had to strap rockets on her roller skates and plunge into the third part of her day. Normally she went to the thrift store for clothes. It was a Tuesday, which was blue ticket day, so all blue ticket items were half off. She did not have long to wade through the racks of shirt or the racks of jeans. She had already wasted five precious minutes looking down her nose at the used shoes. There were some things that were not worth it.
The store was large and the floors were dirty gray white. She wondered how hard it would be to clean them so that they looked decent. Then she looked around at the people in the check out line. Then she looked down on her well worn gym shoes. Maybe the floor was decent enough.
Not that she needed anything but something always drew her to the back of the store to the rickrack section. Once she found depression glass but suspected that it was a later piece made in the '50s. It did not matter because it was all about the hunt. She looked closely and trained herself to find the gold in the old.
Instead, she saw a lot of nothing. Coffee mugs from various businesses. Fluted champagne glasses from Prom 1984; people would have a stroke if students were given that nowadays. A Corning Ware lid. A chipped orange pyrex. Small plates of various patterns and manufacturers. Crazed, antique stoneware that had no use in her home. None of these breakable had any practical use in her home, save the Corning Ware lid, which she took. She looked at the ceramic vases, the old glass vases from the 1980s, a couple of etched drinking glasses from Eureka Plastics 1993 Anniversary, with balloons and confetti swirled around the middle.
She felt especially bad when she saw the mugs, the plates and the glass ware from businesses. How many were still around? Who was careful to pick them out and order them? Who took theirs home, had them on a shelf somewhere and then gave it to Salvation Army to repurpose? How do you repurpose something like that? It was already marked.
Maybe that was it. The purpose was clear. It was meant for a specific time or a specific place and labeled for everyone to see. She opened her purse to fish around for her cell phone. She pushed through her wallet, a receipt from the grocery store, a bag of emergency crayons, a pen cap and finally her phone. She had 15 minutes and her cell phone battery was on 10%.
There was a time when that phone was charged, the calendar was used and synced with other co-workers. There was a time when she combed her hair, took a shower every morning, wore nice clothes that looked nice on her. There was a time when she went out after work, not for drinks, but for a leisurely cup. A quiet moment all to herself before she had to rush to the train.
As she turned the corner to head to the register, she saw them. Paisley. Roses. Delicate handles with a little chip in the porcelain. Saucers mismatched. Tomorrow after school there were no appointments, no softball practice, no dance practice and no train. Tomorrow she would put on the kettle and serve a leisurely cup. A quiet moment with little hands who would see pretty teacups and no chips at all.
by C. Deanne
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