Mary Rose contemplated the celery green dress, but ultimately pulled on her name-brand-less jeans and a thick ribbed black sweater. She folded her hair into a low bun and pumped her mascara wand to lengthen her lashes in an attempt to combat frumpiness. She avoided the full-length mirror on her way out the door and huffed down the twenty-six stairs only to realize she had forgotten her bus pass.
She considered just paying the two dollar fare both ways, so she wouldn’t have to return to her room with its mountain ranges of clothes, looming redwoods of file folders, and Styrofoam Cup of Noodle pyramids, but she just couldn’t justify breaking her twenty dollar bill on public transportation.
This is a good opportunity for you to get some more exercise, she told herself, feeling guilty that she’d only managed thirteen minutes of the Pilates DVD she’d rented from the library.
On her way back up, she could hear her neighbor, Charles, humming to himself The Beatles' Penny Lane from inside his studio apartment. She wondered if Charles knew any other songs, as it was always the same tune she recognized of his dancing Baritone resonance.
Often, when he would see her coming up the stairs or if they should meet while taking out the trash, he would incorporate her name into his never-ending song. Mary Rose is in my ears and in my eyes. Mary Rose would smile politely, as he would, and further conversation would elude them. She didn’t mind his incessant humming, didn’t even mind the personalization of her name in his song without his asking for permission. It felt familial, in fact. Comforting. Times she would pass his paper-thin door and not hear him would bring a subtle sag to her stomach. Mostly, he was there, though. She imagined he must work from home because that perpetual melody had become something she could count on, on her way to and from, and she liked counting on something.