Liza was sitting on the wooden deck just off of her kitchen. She was lounging in a green plastic patio chair, flipping through one of her drawing portfolios. Her black heels and button-down shirt were laying in a pile on the living room steps. She was left wearing black dress pants and a teal spaghetti strap tank top. On the table in front of her were a pack of cigarettes, what had been a six-pack of beer, and her bare feet. Metallic midnight-blue toenails gleamed down at her.
Liza sighed as she rubbed her forehead. An evening at the pediatric oncology ward would have left her in a cheerier mood than her ride home with Bruce. She wasn’t sure what even happened. What was the matter with her? Part of her thought that she may have overreacted. Then again, why couldn’t Bruce have just come out and said what he thought? Her stomach was churning and too many jumbled thoughts were flying through her head. Suddenly she decided that she couldn’t wait a week to talk to him again. Liza leaned over to toss the last empty bottle into the recycle bucket and the chair slid out from under her. She slammed onto the deck, shattering the bottle under her hand.
Liza had been a klutz all of her life. She sighed, stood up, barely fazed, and righted the chair. She would wait a bit. It probably wasn’t a good idea to go trolling around Adams Square like a drunken drama queen. As she plopped back into the chair, her eyes fell on the portfolio. Liza knew that her drawings were decent. But were they good? How good? Definitely good enough to provide her with a fun hobby. Definitely better than what most people could produce. Beyond that, she didn’t know. In the back of her mind she knew that this insecurity was a big part of the reason that she never stuck with art in college. With her job, things were black and white. The work was repetitive. There were rules and policies for everything. Tasks had measurable results. Liza despised these soul-numbing aspects of business and the drones who bought into them, but there was also comfort in the repetitive personality-lessness of her job.
She sat outside for hours thinking all of this through while she pulled bloody slivers of glass from her palm. She decided to call out of work tomorrow. Casey was having some kind of treatment in the afternoon, so Liza was already scheduled to leave work at noon. In the morning, she would find Bruce on campus. She vaguely remembered that he had office hours tomorrow. He was probably over in Hunter Wood, the liberal arts college’s building.
Later, when she was getting ready for bed, she caught her reflection in the bathroom mirror. It was a good thing that she had managed to stop herself from going to look for Bruce tonight. Drunken drama queen was too kind of a description. She looked and smelled more like a homeless alcoholic with her blood-caked hands and red eyes. The scent of alcohol and tobacco was so strong that even she could smell it. Her bun had passed “messy” sometime between driving home with the window down and the dive she had taken onto the deck. Yep, tomorrow was definitely better. Tomorrow she would wake up looking like a supermodel. Tomorrow she would find him.