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  • “What’s your name again?” he asked as we passed on the street, turning to look at me with a guileless smile.

    “Seriously?” I thought. “This? Now?”

    I had rolled out of bed early, which wasn’t really bed at all but a bag on the couch where I’d slept far too few hours. I had rolled off the couch to stuff the sleeping bag, pull on clothes and stay out of the way of the girls’ Easter egg hunt as they pulled plastic eggs and toys from hiding spots and built grand villages of strange little toys with Jolly Ranchers and Smarties forming city walls.

    A call late Tuesday morning requested bags of candy, canvas bags and a My Little Pony kite for a brony-mocking husband before Friday afternoon. I hadn’t a clue when or where I was supposed to buy any of these things given the short notice, my fulltime job and the fact that I volunteered weeknights. Of course, it was possible I would have unexpected free time/lose my job because the contract ran out on Wednesday and nobody seemed even remotely capable of offering an answer as to whether or not I could work Thursday. Or Friday. Or the rest of my life.

    “Canvas bags? When and where am I supposed to find canvas bags? I live in the city. We don’t have craft shops. We have coffee shops. Will paper bags and creamer cups work? Rice sacks from the grocery? Trash bags?”

    I found and bought something slightly more “child-friendly” than “this bag is not a toy." I found and bought candy. I skipped the kite (with two others at home sadly sans Pony) and kept working without knowing if my contract was funded or if the very fact of my working might be an illegal activity on a federal level. When Friday came, I smiled and opened my arms, my house and my life.

    I helped hide eggs and slept in a bag on my couch. When Easter morning broke, I rose early to dress and shove my things away, my clothes on the dryer, the sleeping bag in a nylon sack, and then, I ran to a restaurant for very expensive pastries (that I didn’t want) and the store for apple juice (that I wouldn’t drink) and cinnamon rolls (that I wouldn’t eat), all of which was requested by guests and for none of which they offered to pay.

    The street was crowded at a half past eight in the morning. I looped. I circled. I swore to myself before parking three blocks away and making my way to the restaurant, which was crowded, too. I waited my turn, paid far too much and left a tip for the bartender who finally helped me with the pastry case. I considered ordering a drink at that point, a half past eight in the morning. It had been a long day.

    On the way back to the car (three blocks away), I ran into a man I knew.

    “Hi!” he said.

    “Hey. Hi!” I replied. “How are you?”

    A long time ago in a galaxy far, far away (just around the corner), we dated.

    “Fine,” he said.

    Thoughts flew through my head, not the least of which being that I had made the pastry run in jeans worn for the past three days because I couldn’t get to my closet and I’d made the pastry run commando in jeans worn for the past three days because I couldn’t get to the underwear drawer either.

    “What’s your name again?” he asked.

    “Seriously?” I thought. “This? Now?”

    Naked under all those clothes, inside my dirty denim, and holding a box of expensive pastries, my mind whirled.

    "We have had sex, Chip. You stabbed me in the vagina with your penis after we scalped tickets to see The Killers at the 9:30 Club. You are a meteorologist," I thought. I knew where he lived, worked, had gone to school. "Do you remember that, Chip? Any of that? Later, you slept with Princess Consuela Bananahammock, but you don’t know that I know that. You don’t even know that I know Princess Consuela Bananahammock. She’s bad at ‘the sex,’ but I shouldn’t know that either. The man who told me definitely shouldn’t know; he’s married. This is getting complicated… You don't remember my name?"

    All of these things ran through my head, all these and more.

    “Kristin,” I said with a smile and waited a beat. “What's yours?"

    "Chip."

    "Right. Well, have a nice day."

    I turned and reeled back to my car, feeling even worse about the encounter for my lack of underwear.

    Later, after breakfast of which I’d paid for everything, made and plated most of it, set the table and cleaned up –

    Later, after a second (both in the day and ever) hand towel fell in the toilet and I discovered one of the two mixed with my clothes on top of the washer, meaning I had to wash everything so I had something to wear in the orange ("that's OK") bag ("no shit, it's OK; I bought orange because I wanted it) to sleep on the couch where my guests had been farting all night due to nachos with dinner –

    Later, after the comments about my yard, "Are you going to stone your yard or wood chip it or just keep letting it go wild?" and advice to change career, industry and choice of hometown –

    Later, after crawling into the bag to sleep on a couch that reeked of someone else's ass and thinking of the commando pastry run and accidental encounter with the meteorologist ex who'd forgotten my name and still uncertain about whether I'd have a job in the morning, I gave thanks for the fact that I managed to slip underwear into the toilet towel load. At least, I had that.
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