“Rents due Tuesday – Tiger”
It wasn’t the first time she’d called me Tiger. Last time I couldn’t pay the rent on time she eked the equivalent out of my white-belly thin-legged unbuffed flesh. Not that it was an altogether unpleasant experience or even un-anticipated on my part, but the residual worm of guilt and minor flush of a shame kept me paying interest on the loan emotionally for weeks afterwards.
I’d been down before but never really out. I’d been up before but never really in.
The election announcement revived memories of better times. Of wine in bottles not cardboard boxes. Of meals in cafes on white tablecloths.
My cotton trousers, shirt and jacket didn’t cost any more from Target than trackies and give me an air of respectability, at least in my mind, that sets me apart from the mob in this place.
I grabbed my mug from the dresser, stuck the mail under my arm, filled up from the urn and dropped in two tea bags. Out in the louvered in back veranda a few of the residents were smoking, studying the form guide and drinking beverages with no alcohol.
The window envelopes I shoved in my jacket pocket for later. All of the phone messages were scribbled on the back of one envelope. The not yet ex wife had rung to “catch up. nothing urgent”. In my morning fug I couldn’t dredge up an emotional response to her message. I stuffed it to one side in my mind knowing I would easily find it to make myself feel bad later.