Outside it’s raining—spring rain, which means it’s a fine mist one minute and a torrential downpour the next. In her mud room, she unzips her yellow rain coat and shimmies out of it. Boots kicked into the corner. Hat flipped on the wall hook. She has to take her sweater and jeans off before she can unzip her head, but once she does, she’ll be invisible. She pulls the zipper from her forehead to the nape of her neck and takes off her body like she’s stepping out of a fur coat. She hangs it on the hook next to her hat.
In the kitchen, he’s on the counter, in the silver-rimmed bowl her mother gave her. There are streaks of gray light oozing through the window over the sink. In it, he looks like brain matter, but she knows that once she gets the lights on and the tea pot going, he’ll be back to his cherry red, jelly norm.
She’s filling the tea pot when he says, “I forgot to pick up my prescription.” She makes a face that he can’t see, but he can feel it. “I know. I know. I’m sorry. I was rushing home. I wanted to be home. I forgot,” he says.
She looks out the window at the kids playing tag in the yard next door. She could give them the finger. She could dance naked in front of them. “How many pills do you have left? Enough for tonight?”
He jiggles in the bowl. He is almost opaque, but on his edges, she can see through him to the bowl underneath—like Jell-O, she thinks. His cherry red casts a blood-like tint on the flowers decorating the bowl. “I took the last one last night.” He pauses his customary pause. “I’m sorry.”
“The last thing I want to do right now is put my body back on and go out there,” she says.
“I know. I’m sorry.”
“Of course, it’ll take me less time than it’ll take you. It takes you forever to pour yourself back into your spine.”
She pours the water into her mug, then dunks a tea bag in there. From across the room, he can see the string of the tea bag being pulled then dropped, pulled then dropped. “I’m sorry,” he says. “Of course you are,” she says. “You’re always sorry.”
He thinks about that for a second. He sees apologies like periods—the declarative sentence, the end stop. She sees apologies like a trampoline—it’s the thing you jump off of on your way to taking action. “You can’t change people,” her mother told her when she presented the bowl to her daughter. Now, as she walks back to the mud room, she thinks about how she could put her body back on and walk away. But then, she doesn’t know anyone else she could drink tea with while she’s invisible.