It was one of those nights when all the hairs above my forehead curled. Being the middle of winter, I knew I couldn’t blame it on the weather. So instead I decided to take the Lysol spray and clean all the lint from the bathroom floor.
My roommate came out of her room, stopped, sniffed, and moved on. She wandered over to the kitchen, lit only by the light of the bathroom, and opened her cupboard. I listened to her movements with my back to her, aware of each step. She shut the cupboard door and opened the fridge. My ears heard everything – the opening of the soda bottle, the sound of her drinking it straight from the bottle, recapping, and the return to the fridge door. I ripped another paper towel from my sheaf. Not having a mop, or even a sponge (“never use the sink sponge for the counters or anywhere else”), I resorted to towels. This was number three.
She stopped moving, listening, probably to me. Then she went back in her room, closed the door, and disappeared.
I finished the floor. It was small.
The red tiles gleamed back at me, glowing with happiness. Even around the base of the toilet, where the rim hid a few of them in shadow, the floor glistened. They thanked me, and I bowed in return. The least I could do for having ignored them for so long. But, already it was time to move on.
I shifted back to my room, where I was greeted by the screen saver whirling through space. I sat down and fidgeted, and fidgeted, and fidgeted. Then I moved to the bed to lie down and ponder the ugly white stucco ceiling. My back ached. Every muscle twitched in annoyance.
Back at the computer, I started hitting random keys to fill the blank white screen. I was supposed to be writing my paper. Instead, I threw a q there, a j there, and an x for good measure. All the pretty letters. I liked the language I was coming up with, filled with symbols and measures like notes on a cellist’s sheet. Maybe it was music.
Last, I came to the ~ sign. The one that sits above the backwards apostrophe in the upper left hand corner. You know, the one beneath the Esc button. I felt it was necessary to use it. Indeed, to write a story about it. And the bathroom. One was something most of us never use; the other something most of us can’t live without. Two opposites in a spectrum of procrastinating wonderment. How totally ridiculous. I think, maybe, I just need to go to sleep and get an extension.
~ End ~