May 2023

The Rats and The Lonely Woman

Altenir Silva

Saturday: 9 p.m . She was looking into the small mirror, checking her makeup, and everything looked fine. Then, she approached a large mirror to see if her red dress was flattering her 47-year-old body. Yes! She looked amazing and knew it would be a great date night.


9:13 p.m . A few minutes later, the intercom buzzed. She picked it up and said her name was Susan, then added that she was coming down.


Sunday: 12:34 a.m. She entered her apartment feeling completely sad, with her makeup completely smudged. She sat on the couch and cried for a long time. It was another Saturday night, like so many others. She had created high expectations of finally meeting the right guy, but it had all ended so badly with yet another scoundrel.


2:17 a.m. After having been drinking vodka since she returned, she falls asleep on the couch with Ella Fitzgerald singing Wave by Antonio Carlos Jobim on the stereo.


10:26 a.m. She woke up with a tremendous headache. The stereo had turned off automatically. She got up and went to the bathroom to look for a painkiller. After using the bathroom, she returned to the living room, picked up a cup of water, gulped it down, and went to the door. She opened it, picked up the Sunday edition of The New York Times, and returned to sit on the couch.


Saturday: 11:35 p.m. One week had passed since that horrible meeting. She spent the whole day waiting to be invited to a dining shed in the Village, but nobody from her work called. She settled on the couch with Ben & Jerry's Grand Pot, and watched SNL, finding momentary relief from the stress of the week. When the show ended, she headed to the bedroom and picked up Thomas Wolfe's "Look Homeward, Angel," losing herself in its pages.


Saturday: 3:45 p.m. Two weeks had passed since that horrible meeting. She emerged from her bathroom, donning a blue bathrobe with a matching towel wrapped around her hair. She appeared calm, and while waiting for her hair to dry, she switched on the radio to tune in to WNYC, which was airing "How I Built This," a program featuring successful entrepreneurs. Once more, nobody called or dropped by to see her.


Saturday: 7:27 p.m. Three weeks had passed since that horrible meeting. She sat at her desk, wrapping up some work on her MacBook. Once finished, she went online and watched some reruns of Tony Guida's NY on CUNY TV on YouTube. One of them was an interview with Gay Talese about his famous profile, "Frank Sinatra Has a Cold." She enjoyed the program, but when it ended, she called someone on her phone and received no response. Disappointed, she shut down her Mac and headed to her bedroom.


Saturday: 8:10 p.m. Four weeks had passed since that horrible meeting. She was sitting on the couch in her pajamas, reading Thomas Wolfe's book. Suddenly, the intercom buzzed. She got up, went to the door, and opened it.


8:13 p.m. A few minutes later, a pizza delivery driver arrived and handed her a pizza in a box. She paid for it, and the guy left as she closed the door. She opened the box, grabbed a slice, and began to cry. She quickly moved to leave and accidentally dropped the box of pizza on the floor. She went to her bedroom, where she cried for many minutes until she fell asleep in her bed.


11:03 p.m. While she slept in her room, my fellow Mus musculus and I watched the pizza on the floor. I signaled to my gang and said, "It's time to go to the party!" Then, my rat friends and I began to devour the entire pizza that belonged to the girl who had once been rejected by society but never by us, her loyal companions in loneliness.




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Altenir Silva is a Brazilian playwright and screenwriter working in mass media and communications, including Cinema, Theater, Television and the Web. His texts and scripts - both fiction and reality-based - have been presented , produced and performed in the US, the UK, and Brazil.
For more of his writings in Scene4, check the Archives.

©2023 Altenir Silva
©2023 Publication Scene4 Magazine





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