I had been lying in bed, my mind fuzzy from a restless night’s sleep. My eyes snapped open. She’s coming! I thought in panic. What time is it? I rolled over to see the bedside clock.
“9:08,” it yelled in red.
“Oh, my God, I overslept,” I gasped. She’s going to be here soon, I thought while I climbed out of bed and bee-lined for the bathroom. I’ve got so much to do, I told myself as I peed. There’s no time to waste.
I rushed through my shower, shaved with careless haste, brushed my teeth so fast I didn’t even taste the tooth paste, and put on the first pair of pants and T-shirt I saw because there was no time for decision making. I stepped into my flip-flops because I didn’t have time to put on socks and tie shoelaces.
Spinning back into the bathroom, I took down the framed 1970s Cosmopolitan centerfold of my then fantasy boyfriend entertainer and minister’s son John Davidson and replaced it with one from a 1964 Playboy featuring a beautiful British woman I had kept for just this type of emergency. I stashed John’s photo in my underwear drawer where I hoped he would be happy.
I ran to the guest room and guest bath to make certain they were presentable and ready. They were. I sped through the other rooms and hid private papers in folders. I put other things I had in drawers, items she might think strange. I washed the dishes, dried them, and put them away. I took out the garbage.
As I was returning from the garbage can, I remembered my vitamins and meds. She does not need to see them while she is here, I thought. They are none of her business. So I hid inside my oven which I never use the Viagra I had bought for 2 pesos each from a really friendly guy on the street, all six of my anti-psychosis drugs, and the black-market self-injecting Botox supply complete with hypodermic needle.
My laptop was shut off and closed up so she wouldn’t be able to pry into my viewing history or see my disreputable bookmarked sites. I opened windows and turned on a fan to air out the place in case any foul smells filled the room. I picked up the three area rugs, brought them outside, and shook them with vigor. Three pesos, two unidentifiable pills, and a lapel pin from the 2016 Republican Convention scattered across the lawn. I picked them up and stuffed them into a pants pocket. I did not want her to think I was a slob, careless gardener, a messy housekeeper, or a Republican.
Once inside, I dashed to my bedroom and pulled my sheet and bedspread back to begin making the bed. The landline phone rang next to the living room couch. I ran to answer it noticing I hadn’t plumped the sofa’s pillows. Then I saw the toenail clippings on the floor and the dead skin from the bottom of my feet that I had removed four days earlier with an electric sander. I need to sweep before she gets here, I thought.
“Hola. Bueno,” I said.
“Is she there yet?” my friend John asked. I saw my gold lamé thong peeking out from under the couch.
“No. And it is almost ten.” I was short-breathed. My tone was curt and irritable.
“Why are you in such a tizzy?”
“Look, besides my mother and sister, she is the most important woman in my life. And she’s gonna be here at any minute.” My scrutinizing gaze returned to my bedroom. “I really can’t talk. I haven’t made my bed yet and—Oh, shit. There she is. She’s knocking on the door. Gotta go.” I hung up, snapped up the thong, tossed it in the oven, and hustled toward the front door.
As I passed my bedroom, I shook my head, embarrassed I hadn’t made my bed or hidden my stuffed animals; my cuddly Teddy Bear, snuggly unicorn, and huggable pink pony, turned toward the door, and opened it.
“Buenos días,” I greeted Natalia, my maid, as I remembered the first chore she does is check my oven to see if it finally needs cleaning.