I have painted my nails a dark red. Short nails at the end of fingers on a small hand, I stare at them.
The boiler in a rental unit has died. The fascia and soffit on the garage has gone soft and splintered in the misguided rain. A stained glass window is broken and must be replaced.
And I am getting a divorce.
In preparation of the upcoming move, I have been packing my life away.
The house has never been cleaner.
I rise from the couch and head to the porch, where I put my earbuds in. There is a man and a dog in the park across the street, and I watch as master hurls ball and loyal sidekick chases.
I light a cigarette.
When I finish, I go through all my books, wipe them off and separate them into “take” and “donate”.
I am both impressed and horrified by the collection.
Over the next three hours, I work. One thing begets another: stacks of books are moved from the three-season porch, the shelves, from piles on the hardwood floor and then into boxes. I break the vacuum down to the wand, suck up whorls of dusty clouds, then, dissatisfied, pull the bucket from under the kitchen sink and scrub on my hands and knees. The house smells of PineSol.
Suddenly, I am tired.
As if from a dream, I look down. My nails are chipped; and in two cases, broken. I have a shallow cut on the inside of an index finger.
And after a moment of staring, I go back to the couch, reach for the lotion, the clippers and the polish.
This, I can fix.