At his desk, he logged onto the administrator system and signed in. He walked to the break room behind the circulation desk, drank a glass of water, the welt in his throat jumping. He smiled weakly at a coworker, withered and unshy, who, facing him, admitted, ―Good morning, Alex.
―It is, what is it again, not so unlike a fridge this morning.
―It’s not too bad, really.
―It like, I cannot get used to this way it is here. I mean, autumn is supposed to be like nice cool but summer. But then here it’s like whoa. Always hitting me over. All the tree looks dead. I try to take my little Champy on a walk this morning and he shivers. I want to buy new tiny shoes for him.
―I talked to my mother last night and she says they keep windows open all months long and laugh at me. I don’t care I told her, but she says you’re a fool to me.
―That’s fine, I’m sure she doesn’t, like, have all the, like, things of a city at her fingertips, like. She just misses you.
―She guilts me. One day she said I’m a fool, the next she threatens to move in with my husband and I. She does not even like dogs, she says, you’re going to have to get rid of Champion, but I know my husband will not stand with this.
―I feel so tired in the cold too. I cannot cook in the summer because my apartment has no ventilation. I cannot sleep in the winter because the radiator goes all the way over in the kitchen and the bedroom is on the other side of my house. All the morning becomes so dark I finally nod off and then my alarm, and it’s time to walk Champy again.
―At least it’s almost the weekend.
―Won’t come soon enough.
―I hear you.
―Okay, see you, Alex.
―Thanks, and he thought, edging away, I am an idiot, how does anyone make it through a life without constantly, like… Like, Diane is just trying to be nice, she takes the train twice as far as I do, her husband, if he’s still out of work, has been for, what, how long, and I am… Goddamn you all, especially me, please goddamn me. Alex stared blankly at an email that he guessed he might never understand.