Tuesday, January 26, 2010

The Blue Door

Marta is drinking her first cup of coffee of the day. Her husband is preparing to leave for work. He will trudge up hill the 1.7 miles to work wearing his Eddie Bauer earth tones and sensible Bass walking shoes. His name is Richard. Not much is said as he pours the remainder of his coffee into the sink, petting the dog’s head once before throwing his brown leather satchel over his right shoulder.

“It’s supposed to rain.” She says.

“Maybe I should take the car, but it doesn’t look like rain.” He responds dully.

“Whatever you want.” She says without looking up or seeming to care.

“I’ll see you later.” He says, waiting for a response.

The blue door shuts behind Richard. Marta looks up to say goodbye, but she is too late.

Marta stares at the blue door. Sitting in front of her laptop doing research for a paper, she has barely touched the now cold toast with butter, cinnamon and sugar. Her second cup of coffee, sits hot, far too close to the edge of the desk. Her lips, thin, drawn and in a perpetual frown. Her cheeks, deflated, almost sallow. Her eyes, bloodshot.

The dog pushes its cold wet nose against Marta’s dangling hand. When she doesn’t respond, it walks to the blue door and stares back at her. She lets out a small yelp, sniffing and scratching, trying to get her attention.

Marta wakes from her concentration. She has no desire to walk the dog, but the fresh air will do her good.

Seeing Marta rise, the dog now sits quietly wagging her tail. Her eyes follow Marta around, watching as she puts on shoes, scarf, coat, and hat.

One more gulp of coffee before hooking the leash up to the dog’s collar.

Marta opens the blue door. The dog springs out.

“Rebel!” Marta yells.

The dog freezes in place, slightly dancing as Marta locks the blue door.

The next door neighbor, Ms. Grace is sitting quietly in front of her own door. A pack of reds with a  beat up orange lighter sit beside her. Her salt and pepper hair, straight as straw and cut short, splays out from under a very old knit hat. She’s wearing her dead husbands black and white flannel coat, the one with the paint stains. It still smells of his favorite cigars. The grocery list she gave him, the day of his stroke, still sits folded in the left pocket.

The old woman looks at Marta and smiles, but Marta’s turns her back quickly, pretending not to notice.

“Come on, Reb.” She says, standing at the curb looking both ways, waiting for the traffic to part.


  1. I've finished reading, but the sadness continues to echo. I'm still there, watching. Sigh... I really like this one.

  2. Thank you...this is not the last of Marta and Ms. Grace. :)