I squinted across the way. Tried to see inside the slightly fogged windows of the Dart Drug. Only the manager was there. He looked lonely too. Even with a Santa hat on.
I tilted my head back. Sighed. No stars. City lights and puffy snow clouds concealed any and all heavenly bodies.
I glanced over at Dart Drug again. The lights on the Christmas tree in the window winked at me. Seemed to flash the rhythm of Jingle Bells--Blink, blink, bliiiink. Blink, blink, bliiink.
The star on top of the drugstore tree was big. Too big really. It looked like it was fashioned out of gold foil, studded with yellow mini lights. As I stared at its five points, it seemed to shoot out light beams. I had a thought. Star light. Star bright. First star I see tonight. I wish I may. I wish I might. Have the wish, I wish tonight.
I plodded back to my building. Outside my door I stomped snow and ice clods onto the coir doormat that proclaimed, "'Tis the season!" Inside the apartment I left a trail of hat, boots, mittens, muffler, coat. Who cares?
In the kitchen, I watched my reflection in the window as it filled a mug with half water, half skim milk. The Times Journal cup disappeared inside the microwave. A finger pushed Beverage then Start. The image girl leaned against the cabinet. Drummed her fingers on the counter. Startled when the microwave dinged. Three scoops of International Coffee powder, hazelnut flavor, went into the mug. The reflection paused its stirring. Tasted. Added another spoonful of mix. Hummed a song from Mary Poppins.
I tilted my head at image girl. She seemed tired. Or sad. Before she turned away.
I opened the fridge and grinned. "You’re still here," I said to the can of whipped cream. I shook it then sculpted an ascending spiral on top of the steaming foam. I took a step toward the fridge, whipped topping in hand. I paused. Glanced left and right. As if. I giggled and opened wide. Aimed the whipped cream nozzle at my uvula and sprayed until it sputtered.
In the dining area, I sank into one of the two folding chairs beside the card table. Hummed "I'll Be Home for Christmas" in between sips of fake coffee. When it was gone, I swirled my finger around the inside of the mug to collect the hazelnut dregs. Slurped my finger as I relocated to the sofa.
I stirred my bangs with a puff of air. If I went to bed now, night would go faster and morning would come sooner. I glanced at the VCR under the TV. Not even nine o’clock. Pa-thetic. I rocked myself up and off the sofa and headed back to my bedroom.
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