Sunday Stories: “How Was Your Day?”


How Was Your Day?
by Cara Benson

I’m not in the best of moods. [send]

I walk to the sink. Pick up the soaking yogurt container. Swish the blueberry water around and shake the liquid off. I like to rinse out the recyclables thoroughly. It’s a crap shoot, I think, what happens once the trash leaves the curb, but I try very hard not to give our collectors a reason to landfill it. The neighbor bins get blown over a lot. I chase their old receipts and wrapping paper across our lawn every few days.

I could use a little pep talk, ya know? [send]

I can see out the window it’s windy. I fill the kettle for tea. Get my bag in the cup and hate waiting for water to boil so much that I go clean out the litter box. Scraping the caked-on urine off the bottom is irrefutably literal. The litter dumps on the floor as I’m pouring it into the garbage bag, my face just inches above the bumps of cat shit loosely rolled in pine shavings. It’s an awkward maneuver I’m not sure is possible to master. Now the kettle is blowing, adding urgency and disruption. Screaming steam. I always wash my hands before touching another thing so I’m forced into the bathroom first. Parasites in the poo they say. Pregnant women, which I’m not, but pregnant women especially aren’t supposed to go near it.

I know you’re probably busy, at least I’m hoping you are! Maybe you’re in a meeting? [send]

It’s mint tea. A refreshing combination of spearmint and peppermint. I twist the blinds shut, the light is fading. Sitting on the couch with my feet up our cat hops next to me. Won’t settle in. Keeps pushing on my legs with his paws and claws. I nudge him off. He hops down. My tea’s too hot still. I pick up the book I’ve been reading when I’m in the living room. A novel upstairs in the bedroom, but Tin Horns and Calico downstairs. It’s about the Anti-Rent War in New York State in the 1800s. I notice I feel a little pick-me-up every time the county where I live is mentioned. I’m not entirely sure what that’s about.

Jesus. You weren’t in a car accident, were you? Holy shit. Now you’re scaring the crap out of me! [send]

The account is pretty dated so somehow I’m surprised when it seems radical. Politically speaking. Of course the women were supposed to stay home back in both times, the time of the telling and the time the telling is telling. But the searing criticism of profiteering off lording it over the workers! I can see myself in that. There’s really no good reason I should be surprised, I guess. Why wouldn’t a writer in the early 1900s be opposed to wealth control and abuse of power? I burn my tongue a little.

I remember now! You’ve got that thing with your Dad. See you when you get home. [send]

Well, maybe I better give you the heads up. I dunno. Do want to know now? Or when you get here. [send]

The Sheriff stormed the hills, or tried to, to collect the back rent. The book is relentless in its calling out of the judicial system when it did the bidding of the landlords. It’s not even trying to veneer its bias. The binding’s broken, but I’m cradling a hotbed of historical agitation in my hands! Even though or aside from the non-existent women in aprons and its not at all taking on slavery. Still. It’s not pie-eyed about Hamilton. You know, the usual founding fathers lovefest bs.

I don’t know, maybe it’s not that big a deal. But you know how Friends can see what Friends of Friends post? And you know how I was trying very hard to be more of a lurker online? You know, not put so much out there? To be more moderate? Well, guess who blew that today. [send]

I used to teach poetry in prison as a volunteer, though I got some donations. Philanthropic deposits. Now, as then, I am entirely uncertain what job I’m suited for.

See you soon? [send]

Cara Benson is a writer. Her work has been published in The New York Times, Boston Review, Best American Poetry, and other such lovely venues. She’s at work on her second book. On Twitter: @cbenson67.

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