Peach's Smile on Tuesdays
Her name was Peach and she liked to smile violently in the mirror at her reflection when things were going wrong. She would stare at each of her pupils for minutes at a time, letting hundreds of seconds pass by that could have been spent completing her daily crossword puzzle or making origami birds out of newspaper she regularly stole from the neighbor’s doorstep. The back wheel of her bicycle had been flat for two months and thirteen days. The tire went flat when she was riding down a hill in the woods during a thunderstorm. She had been waiting for her best friend to come over and fix it.
Peach wanted every action she completed to be perfectly ordinary. Before the bike incident, Peach would ride her bike through the woods for two hours at a time every day. When she wrote letters to her best friend, she would only put them in the mailbox a half an hour before the mailman arrived. After the bike incident, this would only happen on Tuesdays. On Tuesdays, she would stand behind panes of window glass until the mailman arrived and took her letter.
She would pour cereal and then milk. She followed every step in her origami design book chronologically, confirming the process two times over post-production. She had repainted the design on her bike helmet thirty-three times since her bike wheel went flat. She had also smiled at her reflection in the mirror thirty-two times since.
Peach’s best friend was Pitt. She thought he had too much hair on his head and took too long to get around to her requests. When they were closer, they used to spend hours cutting down trees in the woods.
This was another one of Peach’s favorite ways to pass time; she was able to feel taller than something that always looked down on her. Pitt told Peach that things only looked down on her because she was too short for her age. Peach wrote this in her journal while she was waiting for the mailman last week. She had also said it to her reflection thirty-two times since her bike incident. And tried to cram it into every open box of her daily crossword puzzle. It would never fit.
Peach had convinced herself that Pitt was illiterate. The thought that he had too much hair in his eyes to read her letters and write her back had crossed her mind thirty-two times since the bike incident. He had responded to her letters before. Maybe he changed his address.
* * *
The incident was a definitive turning point in Peach’s adult life. She had written about it in her journal every Tuesday since it had happened while waiting for the mailman. The first journal entry read:
“Today is Tuesday and I just went on my 215th bike ride of the year. It started drizzling 27 minutes in and I wished I had a mirror. My trail in the woods was messy. The rain came harder. And harder. I really couldn’t breathe. I couldn’t stop, though. Or else they would have won. And I never let them win. It hurt my head when I heard the thunder because I thought they might be throwing things at me. Then I saw a rock shoot past my head and I started riding faster. And faster. I even took a wrong turn down a hill and I haven’t done that since the 5th bike ride of this year. But that time was on accident. And I know I could have handled the rocks, but then the trees started laughing and mocking me. I thought about what Pitt said and felt like maybe I should be laughing at myself too. I should be laughing at myself too. The wheels started spinning so fast and my heart was racing to keep up with my eyes but they couldn’t see because of the rain and soon the rocks were pelting my back and my bike and I flew off of it and rolled the rest of the way down the hill. For some reason it didn’t get my clothes dirty. My clothes are clean. My bike is not. After I fell, the rain and the rocks and the laughing went away. When I ran up the hill I saw the back wheel of my bike was flat. It really made me wish I had brought my mirror. I won’t forget next time. I won’t forget next time. I had to walk home carrying my bike and now it is safe asleep next to my bed. I am okay and my heart is back to walking. Thank you for listening today. I am going to write Pitt to see if he will come here and fix it for tomorrow.”
Every day had been filled with disappointment since the bike incident. Peach had made so many origami birds that she wanted to buy nice stationary and send her neighbors letters with price offers to sell them. Maybe then she would have enough money to buy more mirrors for her room and bike once it was fixed.
* * *
Today was the first Tuesday since the bike incident that Peach wrote about something other than the details of the bike incident. Her journal entry read:
“Today is Tuesday and I am going to break every mirror in my house. I walked into my room and the back wheel of my bike tire was fixed. Pitt must have finally gotten a haircut and read my letters and came to fix it while I was doing my daily crossword puzzle outside. Sorry to the mailman who will miss seeing my face every Tuesday while picking up my letters. He was starting to annoy me, anyway. He was taller than me and I was getting sick of the sound of his laugh.”