Every day, she wakes up, goes to the bathroom, and wipes the remnants of the night mask from her face. She washes and curls her blonde hair, whose roots must be dyed every three months. Lots of mascara; and maybe, if she feels rich, some faux eyelashes. Her red nail-polished finger stops on her red-lipsticked lips momentarily, trying to recall the memory of an old kiss, before swabbing and spreading the color on her cheeks. She sometimes draws a cute little mole with a kohl eye pencil right where Marilyn Monroe wore hers. Her wardrobe isn’t big, she always wears in rotation the chic, old dresses she bought cheap at thrift stores. In the mornings, she only drinks tea and nibbles some white cheese. Then, putting a record on the player, she cleans the house. She starts dinner at noon, peels the potatoes, grates the carrots, washes the rice, rips the lettuce, slices the tomatoes, squeezes little meatballs out of ground beef. While everything cooks, she leans on the sill of the open window, lights a cigarette, and watches the street. Her neighbors wave at her. She smiles at them. The young boys of the neighborhood steal long, secret glances at her to summon the images of her generous décolleté, of the way she blows the smoke and places a lock behind her ear in the darkness of their rooms. At times, in the dead of the night, she receives visitors. A girl has got to eat. Her neighbors don’t speak of it. They turn a blind eye. She never makes a sound. Not even when she cries after, her curls stringy, her lipstick smeared, her heart longing, her bed empty: at the height of her beauty.

The dinner table is always ready at twilight. This is when she pulls a chair in front of the window and expects him to come home, her heart thumping. She knits him a sweater as she waits. It’s going to be colder soon. She’s knitted more for him before; they sit in the closet unworn. He hasn’t returned ever since he went out to buy cigarettes, four years ago. But that’s irrelevant. Purl one. Purl two. Her eyes alternate between the pattern and the road. Wool to the back of the needle. The dinner’s getting cold. Knit one. Knit two.