Kat stares at the little black device. It has two compartments; she fills them and waits. The two LED lights are a taunting red. She needs to go, but she can’t until the light turns green.
From the couch, Jake says, “my mom always told me that a watched pot never boils. Not the same, but the concept still applies, methinks.”
He’s reading the paper in his pajamas, his feet up on the coffee table.
Kat glowers and nods; her face is stoic and her shoulders are straight. The light will change when it changes. In the meantime, other things need to be done.
With newfound determination, she looks for a distraction.
In the laundry room, she sorts clothes into piles: colors and whites. Her mind wanders to the day ahead and the journey that awaits her.
The long drive on winding mountain roads and a long fall on either side. She starts the washer, sets it to cold, and leaves the other pile for later.
Back in the living room, she glares at the tiny lightbulbs’ cherry eyes. With a huff, she stomps into the kitchen and loads the dishwasher.
With each dirty plate she cleans, she dreams of lakes and trails. A clear blue sky above her. With every washed bowl, she yearns for the smell of pine trees.
Peering around the wall, careful not to startle it, she checks the charger. Her heart pounds in her chest and her nails scratch against the plaster.
She paints her toenails a glittery rose. It is a waste of time, she knows. Soon, she’ll roll a wool sock over them, smudging the polish across her digits and staining the fabric. But it’s something to do, and it serves its purpose; she was amused for a solid three minutes.
She stands up.
She paces through the room, sometimes turning suddenly to surprise the thing, but it remains unperturbed.
She runs on the treadmill and throws a ball for the dog. She scratches the kitten’s ears. She grabs her new mystery novel and puts it right back down. She dares a glance.