Bluesy opened the car door and peered inside, reaching to button my blouse, his cold fingers accidentally touching the already well-chilled skin above my sternum. I could have, indeed should have, batted him away but I was exhausted and just wanted him gone.
He fumbled with a pretty opalescent button as small as a sequin, and as thin, muttering “Lord almighty,” as he attempted to insert it into an equally small opening. The button edge weaseled into a minuscule fissure on the tip of his thumb. I closed my eyes pleased my blouse inflicted the pain I couldn’t. I held the image of it stuck in his thumb, hovering above my chest, blood rising warm from its travels from his heart, releasing a drop on the surface of my skin, where it sat, unable to go further. Maybe survival was possible if I just sat still until he left.
His hair dropped over my forehead and I smelled the factory of his body and his gut-recycled dinner, his mouth a smokestack and me an olfactory mistake. He’d smelled harmless fun – I think it was my shampoo. Herbal Essences would be happy when I wrote and told them I’d used their Passion Flower and Rice Milk product, a welcoming scent boosted by my pulse. The next thing I knew the likes of Bluesy had invited himself over for a steaming cup of tea and a few episodes of Breaking Bad , and before Jesse and Walt had finished cooking their first batch of meth I was flat on my back wondering how many kernels I could count in my popcorn ceiling before he’d leave. I cursed my mucous membranes, my lack of control, Bluesy’s intrusion.
We lasted 28 days. Thank God it wasn’t a leap year.
“It’s minus 30 out there, February, can you give me a lift home?”
Yes, my name is February. My parents thought it a romantic moniker, it being the month of my conception, an ovulatory cycle of snow bound cuddles and cozy fires – but I hated it. It is a bottomless well of cold, a dory adrift in the North Atlantic without an oar or a rudder or a bailing bucket. Here I was, February in February, like a frozen daiquiri on an Antarctic cruise, half dressed in my car trying to get rid of Bluesy.
He finished the job. I sniffed, sucked in the snot that drained from my nose and caught a whiff of Tide Clean.
“God, I love February,” he said as he kissed me goodbye.
I examined his work. He’d married the button to the wrong hole and my blouse was askew but it was over. Bluesy was gone, my heart buttoned up, safe for another year. No doubt he’d be back again to continue his work. On my way home, I stopped by WalMart to pick up some new shampoo and went with “Colour Me Happy”.