Cookie walked barefoot to Moon’s apartment. It was her way of saying “off duty”. Also people generally bare feet a wide berth.
Moon’s apartment building was not considered part of the bad part of town but edged towards it. The police were there enough. Mostly for domestic disputes so it was okay. It was an old building on top of a convenience store and a Laundromat and for as long as people could recall the building had existed. Cookie liked looking out the windows all the way up the staircase. If you wanted you could just perch yourself on the heater and peer out. Cookie liked this neighbourhood. The college kids were growing up or moving away. People complained that immigrants were moving in. Cookie liked watching the Muslim women walk with the wind billowing around there long skirts. Cookie always liked long flowy materials. The kind of fabrics that made one feel ethereal.
As always Cookie opened the door without knocking. Moon had a bandanna and two large hoop earings. She was picking play dough out of the carpet. Claire was sitting beside her and was spreading out a pile of cards.
Cookie swallowed and smiled at Claire. Cookie wasn’t great with kids and Moon was all about her kid. So Cookie hadn’t had much time to even create a bond with Claire.
“ Hey Clarabelle-Star what are you up to?”
Cookie pulled down her skirt self consciously and slowly sat down by Claire. Claire didn’t look up. Cookie didn’t know whether she should get offended. But then Claire handed Cookie a pile of cards.
“ I’m playing go fish with Mama.”
“ Can two year olds play go fish?” Cookie looked at Moon.
Moon shrugged. They both watched Claire’s dust colored head bob as she turned the cards over and started pairing them.
“ Match, Match, MATCH!” Claire shouted as she made a large pile of upturned cards.
“Claire I don’t think…”
Moon put her hand on Cookie’s shoulder halting her, “ C’mon let her have her fun. Let me show you the changes I’ve made.”
Moon helped Cookie upn gracefully. Cookie pulled down her skirt and looked around the room.
“ Shelves are neater…less clutter. Wait there’s no Cypress Hill playing. No Bongs on the shelf. Does your bathroom smell like B.O.?”
Moon smiled widely and shook her head.
Cookie blinked, “ My god you finally got rid of him.”
“ Even better he left me and knocked up a minor. “
Cookie grimaced but then again Cookie had more experience in that area than she would have liked.
“ God…” Cookie uttered
“ I know poor thing, stuck with some part of him forever. Thank god I don’t know Clarabelle’s father. She has no shadow over her. She’s all herself…you know what I mean.”
Cookie nodded because she did.
They both jumped as Claire shouted “ Go Fish! Mommy I won! ”
Cookie mutterd, “ You’re the only one playing.”
Moon elbowed her affectionately. Cookie moved away and drifted into the kitchen.
“ I’m going to get the food you promised me.”
“ Go ahead, You should apply to a call center. Life is great. I’m paying rent. I’m going to get cable…I have no idea how I’m going to pay for daycare let alone for a babysitter.” Moon called out from the living room
“ You got no neighbours that miss having kids?”
“Not a one. Theres a Spanish broad who wont let her kid out of her sight. There’s the noise police downstairs…These people wouldn’t piss on me if I was on fire.” Moon snorted
Cookie smothered penut butter on a slice of bread and moade herself a sloppy sandwich. She poured herself a glass of milk. It was homogenized. Cookie sniffed it and shrugged to herself. She took a test sip as she slowly made her way to the living room. Moon moved over and then quickly got up.
“ I’ll get you an appliciation form.” She strode determinedly out of the room.
Claire looked up at Cookie’s sandwich. Cookie looked uncertainly at Claire. She squirmed in her seat as she opened her mouth to speak. Claire inturpted the thought.
“ Why is mommy laughing about knocking ladies?”
Cookie squinted, “ What are you talking about?”
Claire sniffed as two year olds are apt to do. “ Mommy was laughing about Carl knocking ladies.”
Cookie squirmed and quickly glanced down the hall. Damn it, no sign or sound of Moon.
“ Umm…she’s not laughing because it’s funny. It’s one of those times you laugh at how cruel life can be. It’s a grown up thing…”
Claire let out a loose trilling tolling laugh. It echoed through the room and made Cookie’s hands feel like they were vibrating. It was unsettling…
Moon burst into the room and looked around distractedly. Tendrails of hair blowing and then sticking to her bandana. She barely caught her breath as she muttered“ What’s so funny?”
Cookie shrugged as she tried to explain, “ We are talking about different kind of laughs.”