Tuesday, 3 December 2013

Today

by Fenella Johnson
 
The tall man with a bluish tint to his skin and a pout to his mouth accepts the offered plate warily, but the woman sitting next to him scoffs and grabs two of the canap├ęs, stuffing them in her mouth. Her clothes cling to her skin, and she idly scratches her thigh. The tall man, whose name is Thursday, scoffs. Saturday is such an unsophisticated day.

It is otherwise quiet, apart from the woman’s loud munching, because it always is in one of his gatherings, and Saturday is the only one who ever speaks, apart from when they have to because none of the days like each other much. He supposes he is lucky that stout Wednesday has called an end to her feud with cynical Tuesday, and Sunday is too tired to even think about starting a conversation, his head slumping wearily on the table. Friday is listening to music as usual, tapping her feet in a rhythmic beat on the floor: It’s Friday, I’m going out tonight, it’s Friday, I’m going out tonight, it’s Friday and, next to her, Monday is chewing his lip, writing nervously on a pad (My essay is late, I should have done it over the weekend and I should really have been revising) and there is an ink splodge on the one of the cuffs of his fraying suit.
“Are we going to start anytime soon? “Saturday asks, her voice like brass, and Wednesday jumps.
“I, um, I’ll take the minutes.” Monday offers eagerly, fringe flopping down his face as he scrambles for his pen.
“If you must” Tuesday drawls, picking at an already immaculate nail,“It’s not as if anyone reads them.” Thursday knows for a fact that he does, inspecting every line, as if him finding one fault means that Monday would be out of a job.
“Who’s going to start? “Wednesday bustles in, and Sunday raises one hand, the effort seemingly making him even more exhausted.
“I have one about a little boy who used to stare at the moon every night. He thought it was lonely up in the sky, and nobody ever paid it a visit. So he planned and planned, he filled a bag up with a crunchie and thirty nine pounds and eighty three pence, and one night, when the moon hung like a discarded balloon in the sky and a cluster of clouds covered half of it so you could only see its faint curve and the stars were prickly and bright -"
“Is this the one about the boy who fished from the side of the moon, like the DreamWorks motif ? You’ve told it before and I am so not interested. “Friday interjects, tossing her blonde head. “So boring.”
Sunday blinks, mouth half open like a fish. Thursday has an absurd urge to reach over and shut it.
“Have I? Oh well, yes. “He rubs his bleary eyes.
“Can we please talk about how it is not statistically possible that all bad things happen on Monday mornings and yet they do? “Monday asks and Tuesday sighs loudly, sharing an eye roll and a what- can-you-do shake of the head with nobody in particular.
“We tell stories in this meeting. Problems and stereotypes with days is tomorrow, in Friday’s meeting “ he tells Monday, as if talking to a little child.
“Perhaps, another time, Monday?” Thursday says, joining the conversation for the first time. Monday nods eagerly. “Anyone else have a story? No? Well, then I should get on with telling mine, so we can all go home.”

After the story is done - Thursday’s usual mix of poetic nonsense and "What was the moral, children?" - they pack up. Monday leaves immediately, muttering something about work to do, and the others follow, but Friday stays, almost idly staring at her phone.
“Your turn soon.” They don’t measure the time in days; they measure it in the last time I drank coffee and when did the fridge last have orange juice, and soon it is Thursday’s favourite time phrase.
“Please pass the plate” 

 

 

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