Stephanie de la Rosa
A Friday Night In
after Edward Hopper’s painting
Room In New York
She hadn’t driven a car since he tried to teach her
that one summer weekend in the country,
but she would try again and he would dance
with her tonight. They would be slow dancing
about now, her hands around his neck, grazing
the cut where the barber slipped earlier that day.
Instead, they sit in the room facing a giant window,
the best feature of the house.
He reads: an engagement on P.4, liquor store robbed
on 4b. She hits the keys on the piano, absently
thinking they need to be replaced and suddenly
remembers she is worried. She hasn’t seen
her neighbor walk his dog in almost two weeks–
since her mom came to stay with them.
The doctor, last here when she encountered a rabid
fox, has been upstairs eight hours with her laboring
mom. She will be a sister for the first time. She’s only
ever had her little niece; Allie set the guest room on
fire not three months ago.
She realizes she doesn’t know how to swim,
should probably learn in case she needs to jump
in after her drowning baby sister. If her sister wants
to swim that is. She will make sure her sister never
touches a baseball, tutu, or paintbrush, unless it makes
her happy. She’s made a new friend at the floral shop
around the corner. She’s always making new friends,
and will teach her sister the same friendly manners.
She’s angry with the maid for scratching the floor
while moving furniture. But really she’s upset that
her maid married and left them. She doesn’t know how
she will replace her. She learned from her maid to apologize,
ignore her pride and admit her faults. She will teach
Evelyn to do the same. Her sister, she has decided, will
be named Evelyn, after her favorite aunt she spent every
summer with. She hopes her sister is as curious to learn
as she is. Already, she is eager to learn what wives in China
do during the day, in case her sister would like to know.
She remembers they need new curtains, and plans to make
them with Evelyn. He looks through the paper for theater
tickets to surprise her with next week, hoping she’ll forget
he was supposed to dance.