There is a proverb here in America. Another day, another dollar.
But not today. The last few weeks have been exceptionally busy, but today is going to be a lazy day, a slow day. Time to finally enjoy the fruits of her labour, if one can even say so.
She has slept in until two p.m, ordered in, wondered if she should call one of the few people that she sometimes goes out with, and decided against it. Somehow she enjoys not having to talk to anyone, leaving her face naked and her hair in a simple braid, just to keep it from blocking her sight.
A day of not having to represent anything, a day without acting. Bliss.
She hasn't said more than maybe ten words today and it feels wonderful. The new state-of-the-art laptop sits on the floor next to her armchair, whirring happily. She runs her fingers almost affectionately across the pristine screen. There's a mug of tea in her hand, and a book in her lap, and no other person to be seen or heard or catered to at least until next Friday.
There also is a distant nagging somewhere at the back of her mind, disturbing the idyll. A vague but utterly uncomfortable feeling of dread, like a half-choked guilty conscience.
She should not be proud of this. Not of the things she acquired, and first and foremost, she should be ashamed for having given up on looking for proper work.
But I do - I keep sending out CVs and they keep coming back.
You have given up the thought of ever finding work in the computer department again is why they keep coming back. You have arranged yourself with the situation and secretly lost all hope for being able to change anything. You lie to yourself, you hide from yourself the way you always do.
She gets up just a bit too quickly, the book falls to the floor. The first day of several free days in a row is always the best, and she won't spoil it by extensive brooding over things like that. She walks to the kitchen to top up her tea with a shot of rum, for celebrating.
When she comes back, her cell phone screen shows a missed call. With a long annoyed sigh, she picks it up. A number she doesn't know. Redial.
"Hello?" A woman's voice.
"Hello, this is me. You just called?"
"Yes, in fact I do. From my web page, you say?"
"Yes. Tell me name of hotel, please, and what time you want me to come."
"Absolutely. I'll be there, then - let's talk about detail later?"
Jadzia hangs up after that short talk, looking angry and disappointed. There goes her evening. There go her plans of finally being left alone and not having to show herself off. But then, installments have to be paid - plus, she needs some extra money in case anything happens.
Company, the other woman - a woman, by the way? Unusual - had said. Just to keep her company.
Oh yes, of course. Go ahead and think of some other lame excuses for agreeing. You just stooped to a new low. Congratulations, kochanie - Ciotka would turn over in her grave if she knew any of this.
Jadzia shrugs wearily, then chooses a dark blue dress and matching lingerie and heads off to the bathroom. None of my business, to ask her questions. We'll see.
A shower later, she stands in front of the mirror, carefully applying make-up, brushing her hair and redoing it. Two small braids on either side, then her usual chignon, decorated with the braids and some loose strands in front, shorter than the rest. She makes a face at the mirror.
I never did that before. And I shouldn't be doing it, whatever it turns out to be. It's not right, it's going to be a sin, at least that's what I learned - but then, in America, no one seems to care anyway. I shouldn't care any more.
She grabs her coat, her purse and her silver cigarette case and, fully dressed, goes back to the kitchen. A swig of rum, straight from the bottle. A cigarette. One for the road.
The door slams. Jadzia is on her way to an unpredictable evening.