I've been homeless since early February. That's when The Salvation Army came to collect my possessions. Somewhere right now a poor person is using my old television that was as deep as it was wide. A few days later I set off for two weeks of work-related travel, returning to Philly for 36 hours before driving south to temporarily move in with Leslie. I have been with her ever since. My two-bedroom apartment won't be ready until mid-April and that doesn't take into account the fact I own no furniture. All of this has turned my routine on its head.
In my past life, I went to the gym every Saturday and Sunday morning in addition to twice during the week. One visit was spent having my ass kicked by my trainer, a man who routinely asked me to marry him as sweat dripped off the tip of my nose. Monday nights I volunteered with my cousin. At least two other evenings were spent having drinks and dinner with friends. Since moving to Atlanta, the only constant is awaking in the morning utterly fatigued.
"I think I should get my hair cut," I said to Leslie as we finished lunch, a meal spent brainstorming all of her contacts that I can potentially exploit. "And I need to mail my condo fee, contact Audi about buying-out Gretel, and drop a script for my birth control at CVS, not that I'm doing anything that could remotely result in a pregnancy."
"I'll call my guy and make you an appointment."
A few days later, Leslie left for a golf weekend in Alabama with former coworkers. Saturday morning, Anders headed to a friend's house for a slumber party. This left me, Olivia and my brother in-law in a house that, with all five of us present, was starting to feel small. I dropped Gretel at the Audi dealership for unexpected service (quelle surprise). I cheered on Olivia and the rest of the Pink Flamingo soccer team at a nearby field. That night, after enjoying burgers outside at a nearby pub with Olivia and my brother in-law, I retreated to my room.
In the distance evening crickets chirped. The smell of spring blossoming on the trees seeped through the curtains. I washed up, slipped out of my clothes and fumbled around in the closet for my toy. Now, I thought, now I can finally close my eyes and disappear. I can flip a switch, exhale and forget how crazy my life has been.
"Aunt Paige?" I heard from the bedroom.
"One second," I answered as I quickly shoved all evidence of an adult life deep in the closet.
I walked out to the bedroom to find Olivia. There she was in her doggie pajamas and princess snuggie, the faux fur wrists yellowed and nappy from wear.
"Which side of the bed do you want?"