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Back On Her Feet

     Lydia closed the door behind her, kicked off her shoes and sighed. 
Ed looked up at her from the couch and turned down the TV.
     “Hey babe, how was work?” he said.
     “I wish that place would burn to the ground,” she replied.
     “Oh, come on. It’s not that bad is it? Did you make good tips? 
The water bill is due tomorrow.”
     “I made enough, but just barely.” Lydia sat down on the couch 
beside him. “Sweetie, my feet really hurt. Will you rub them for me?”
     “Yeah, I guess I could.” Lydia swung her legs around and put her 
feet in Ed’s lap. He circled his thumb in the curve of her arch, then began 
to apply more pressure, concentrating on the heel. 
     “You know, you’re feet are really rough. You should take better 
care of yourself,” he said.
     “But then my feet hurt more. The calluses are kind of like cushions.”
     “Still you should do something about it. It’s not very attractive.”
Lydia looked away, her throat tight.
     “Well, I’m going to bed. You coming?”

     Lydia leaned over the counter, staring into the mirror. Her hair was 
tangled, her eyes puffy and red. She pulled off a few squares of toilet 
tissue, blew her nose and sat down on the edge of the tub. She picked up 
a pumice stone from the counter and began to exfoliate her feet, then stopped. 
She threw it into the trashcan with a loud thunk. She looked around the 
bathroom, at the spotted mirror, the dirty clothes on the floor, the line of 
grit in the bathtub. She stood up, walked into the bedroom and to her closet. 
Pulling her suitcase from the top shelf, she started putting her t-shirts and 
jeans into it. Ed stirred behind her.
     “What are you doing?” he slurred.
     “What? Why?”
     Lydia walked over to the dresser and collected all her underwear. 
     “This isn’t going to work.”
     “Lydia, are you crazy? It’s two o’clock in the morning. You can’t leave.”
     “I don’t care,” she said and walked out the door.