‘What are you doing?’
‘I’m picking out my shoebox.’
‘Your shoebox? Why would you pick out a shoebox?’
‘To sleep in. When I have to sleep under a bridge. When I get sacked. You know,’ I wave my hand at my friend Macy in the ‘I don’t need to tell you this’ gesture.
‘You’re a size four. That is no size to sleep in. Take one of mine, I’m a seven.’
‘Wow, you’re so kind,’ I say while I press both hands on my heart.
‘I have my moments.’ She strikes her nose as if to say something.
‘No, I don’t have any. Call for me when I’m out there. I will safe you the best shit I’ve got.’
‘You really are a good friend.’
I wipe my sleeve under my nose.
‘What are you eight? That’s disgusting. Here.’ She hands me a Kleenex. Lava descents from my nose. Macy’s face turns sour. It reminds of a scene from Les Miserable where Mimi is singing out in the cold weather with her own drippy nose.
‘We need a plan,’ she says.
I look about my room that looks like it has just been ransacked. Clothes on the lamp, mattress straight up against the wall as if is about to get handcuffed, boxes, camping gear, nightlight broken on the floor, paintings askew. Just an average Friday night.
‘Not a plan for the remains of this earthquake scene. A plan to let you keep your job.’
‘But I hate my job. I work at a call centre and get cursed at for a living, while I’m supposed to be an editor for a glamorous magazine.’
‘No, you have to be more specific. I’m looking for point A,’ she says while she drops my mattress back on my bed.
Ooh, I’m a mess right now
Searching for a sweet surrender
But this is not the end
Sings at Ed Sheeran through the room. Macy and I exchange looks. ‘Don’t take that literally,’ she advices. I throw the clothes from my clothing rack on the floor; Macy picks them up and puts them back on their hangers. I take out my trunk and spread it on my bed.
‘This looks like you’re going on a vacation.’
‘That’s a plan.’ She puts her hands in her sides. ‘Okay, point A, I decide what to take with me. What do homeless people normally pack?’
‘Because they have nothing.’
‘Than how come they all have a cell phone? Do they sleep in space?’
‘That’s not funny. Don’t make fun of the unfortunate.’
‘I’m keeping my phone. It’s probably not as fancy as theirs but I have to keep up. I don’t want to be one of those homeless that doesn’t have any friends.’
I take my phone and throw it in the suitcase along with some underwear.
‘This is not how it works.’
She takes my phone out and puts it on the nightstand. I throw 50 cents in my trunk.
‘What are you doing?’
‘Taking my money.’ She starts laughing really loud. I continue packing. In goes my toothbrush, my socks, my jeans, only the vital items are allowed to come with me.
When she’s finally done laughing at my misery, she says: ‘okay, here’s the plan. You are just going to go to work tomorrow, make that little money that you make, and everything will be all right.’
‘Okay, here’s the deal. I got sick on the first day of work. That lasted two weeks, than I had a bad bad migraine, that lasted another week and then Saturday my boss sends me home.’
‘Okay, yes, that does not look good. But where are your savings?’
I point at the 50 cents in my trunk.
‘Where’s the rest?’ I point at the room around me.
‘Bills?’ I nod yes.
Macy scratches her curly brown hair and then unintentionally points at her freckles.
‘Couch surfing?’ She asks.
‘Oh, yes, my surfboard,’ I shout and I run into the other room.
‘You can’t wander the streets with a surfboard under your arm.’
‘I think it will be very practical. Shelter from the rain, it works as a mattress and as a coffee table which I will get for free at the supermarket.I think it’s better than the shoebox,’ I say totally taken with my own idea.
‘No such thing. You are going to work tomorrow and who knows it’s not as bad as you think.’ She picks up the 50 cents and tosses it in the air, but she misses the catch and it lands on the floor and disappears in the mess.