Michelle cannot sleep. The loose ends of depression are tying her supple belly into slipknots. Yet another love-of-her-life has soured; the man was married... noncommittal, therefore... interested, exclusively, in heavy breathing.

Why, on earth, do I keep trying?

She plods into the kitchen. The robe she wears enfolds her with a frayed familiarity. She opens up the fridge. Its harsh light glares, seems to violate the somber, predawn dark. Under-lit, her face looks vaguely puffy, age-endangered, as if she might grow fat; her mother did, though it took time. A string of post-divorce affairs turned Mrs. Gus D'Angelo from well-endowed to far-from-svelte to plump to stout to gross. Michelle takes out a bowl of pasty casserole. Absently, she sits and picks and chews.

Sammy was okay. He was my first, and very sweet. And very young; I seduced him. In the back seat of my car. He was only sixteen, had a birthmark on his shoulder, and was so damn short I could see it while he huffed and puffed me pregnant. Why I waited eighteen years to squander my virginity—on a teenager, no less—Lord only knows. Lost both. Sammy through the windshield, on a wintry night in Pittsburgh, our baby some months later, to an agency in Selma. Sad tale. Big deal. Everybody's got 'em. Mine no better, no worse; it's simply... mine.

Morning intrudes greyly. Michelle wipes off her fingers on the threadbare robe.

I get this strange feeling sometimes. Happens when I know not a soul is watching. Feels as if I somehow don't exist, like I'm invisible or something. You know, like God made me up and then lost interest? That's when life as a single girl gets lonely. When looking into the mirror doesn't prove you're there. Someone else has to see you. And say so. And maybe care a little; that would be nice.

Leaving out the bowl for lurking roaches to monopolize, Michelle plods back to bed and tries again to sleep.

 

 

The audience...

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