lying on the couch with nothing
better to do on a thursday afternoon.

lying on the couch, watching a jet streak a horizontal white across a blue sky. stomach full of ettore's strawberry cake, undigested, causing a sick, swirling feeling. think job interviews, blind dates, the moments before oral surgery. a sunlit patch on the top of the couch exposes a thin layer of dust, hair, and lint. tops of the trees are swaying back and forth, back and forth. the refrigerator buzzing, the clock tick-tocking, seconds fading, the lawnmower droning in the distance. earlier, the girl across the street vacuumed the family van inside and out. thorough. think "you're not fully clean unless you're obsessively-compulsively clean." two teams nobody gives a shit about, kings and grizzlies, duke it out at arco arena.

earlier, dad called. mom answered. a short exchange. a hang up. "he wanted to buy a $120 suit," she said, irritated. "so, let him buy what he wants," i said. "but he's just going to wear it on the plane. and there's no money for the windows and no money for the painting." she huffed, then retreated to the bedroom. before, she had said, "maybe he'll just stay there. he might extend his trip. maybe he won't come back. who will pay the utilities?" she asked. i didn't answer. it felt like an accusation. get off your sorry ass. contribute something to this world. do something already. she worked everyday for the past thirty years, days flatlined in stale-smelling hospitals, and yet, she'll always feel poor.

he's still out, buying huggies and other non-reusable, non-biodegradable products for the people "back home." "is he gonna get paid back for all that stuff he bought?" i asked. "no," she said, "it's pasalubong (translation: gifts). you know, you go there, you stay at the house for free, you eat for free. it's not worth it. sometimes it's better to just get a hotel and relax." i thought about the pasalubong they usually brought in exchange for staying at our house: chestnuts, crappy oversized t-shirts, unhealthy candy.

who wants to visit the third world, anyway? we've got it all here. everything.

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