Carly slid the key in the door, jiggled it softly, turned the key, and unlocked the door. Upon opening it, her first sight -as it was every time she came home – was her cat. Noodles was a tabby that, instead of rubbing up against you or meowing to express her pleasure at Carly’s arrival, would arch her back, walk on her tippy-toes until she reached a wall, then collapse in a heap, her belly exposed. Carly would say hello, but found the display a little too lascivious for her tastes.
She hung up her coat, closed the closet door and slid her feet into a pair of Hush Puppies slippers. It was, by far, her favorite time of day. She sighed a deep sigh of relief and wore a smile for the first time in that day. It was a day that was not any worse than any other, but going to work was starting to become more than she thought she could bear for much longer.
She made her way down the hall to the kitchen, flicked on the overhead light and reached for an orange. Ever since she was a little girl, oranges had been her favorite fruit. Her mother used to say that if she ate so many oranges, she would eventually turn the color of one. The thought of this excited her so greatly that she increased her consumption. She loved navels and mandarins. She drank OJ with, or without pulp. She would not however, allow orange “drink” or soda to come anywhere near her lips.
Peeling an orange was an operation of great pleasure for Carly and she went about it as though she was performing a sacred ritual. The orange was peeled in meticulous strips of incomprehensibly similar width, as though the orange had been peeled by a precision instrument. She would place the peels on the table, and make a complete circle with them, to give the appearance that the orange had just opened up perfectly, like a flower in bloom, and presented its sweet meat to her. The entire process gave her comfort and made her feel important. It gave her the feeling that something existed solely for her pleasure and that nobody in the world could ever appreciate an orange the way she did.