It took her half the morning to look this miserable, and even with the arabesque of her updo and her aquiline neck, she felt low. “Chin up,” her mother would say, and she found herself doing so reflexively, even when she wasn’t looking in the mirror, or remembering her mother’s foreboding voice. Life was like walking head on into a sleet storm, and sometimes you have to look up to look ahead. The ice pellets sting the eye, and makeup runs down the face, but one must persevere.
Last night was the lonely last act of an awful day, and the morning only grudgingly broke under dark and laden skies. She had gotten used to the lack of sleep, but the aimlessness that often followed just made her feel worse, like the sick and the tired begetting something greater, perpetuating stagnation like a Soviet economy; an ennui so possessed of Catholic values that it cannot stop reproducing.
Still, it was chin up, and as she lifted her head she saw the sign that passed her by on a flatbed. Go Back to Bed, it said. Some ad for a mattress maker. It had started to drizzle, and inspiration does not always ask the grandest things of us. She turned around and headed back home.