The soles of her shoes were covered in a thin film of foamy grime. Her knuckles, insistently red and bulging, rapped timidly on the glass, barely making enough contact to elicit sound. She momentarily met his eyes as the door swung open, but they knew their place and quickly dipped back down again, servile.
He thought her rough, vulgar, unworthy of redemption or solace. It didn’t occur to him that those thoughts might lessen his own worth. He wondered how someone so seemingly bedraggled could be expected to take responsibility for the cleanliness of his home. He wondered how the neighbors would take this.
Would they laugh behind his back – poor old Jan, good help is so hard to find. Would they shake their heads with gentle disdain, and revise his status in tandem without even a word between them? Would he carry that weight, heavy and dull, like the lead apron that shields potential generations from extinction during routine x-rays at the dentist’s office? Step back in line with the wallflowers, the elderly, the girl who had survived an unconventional youth and often trailed off mid-sentence or tittered forlornly at the canadian viagra online way her coin had flipped?
What he knew to be true was that, in that instance, he would do just that. But this wasn’t that. Even still he couldn’t slight her outright. Couldn’t pluck her, with heady violence coursing his veins, from her post and cast her roughly out. He was far too polite. He considered it his virtue.
In the forty-seven years still stretching out before him, he never did become more perceptive.