Lila was surprised to see a calendar reminder pop up on her phone, especially on that most depressing day of the year, December 26. All it said: “I will leave.” She couldn’t fathom what that meant, or even if she’d entered those words into her calendar.
She was feeling a pang of remorse for the piece of fudge she’d popped in her mouth a few moments earlier, as if her pants hadn’t fit that snug prior to this piece of gooey chocolate sliding down her throat. She’d been in the midst of making yet another to-do list, reminders of things that had needed doing for months now: clean the downstairs tub, put water seal on the deck, vacuum. And never mind that it was December and far too cold to apply water seal. It still needed to be done, and just because the timing was no longer right – one of the themes of her life, she noticed – that didn’t give her free reign to remove it from the list. Lila sometimes wondered how much more she might have accomplished in life if she spent the time actually doing things on her to-do list instead of re-copying it.
Just then Boyce appeared, wearing only boxer shorts, scratching his hairy chest. His eyes were half-shut as he moved toward the coffee maker. Lila heard him lift the empty carafe.
Boyce exhaled and then started coughing, his hacking morning cough that always sounded a bit like retching.
The calendar reminder chimed again, barely audible above Boyce’s fit.
Lila stopped writing her list in the middle of a word and put down her pen. She stood up, grabbing her purse and keys. She glanced at her phone, and then left it on the table.
“I’m getting coffee,” she said. And she walked out the door, noticing the satisfying click it made as it closed behind her.