Scene on the Tram.

She boarded the tram at Garibaldi, validating her ticket with her pale, ungloved left hand and holding fast to the strap of her large handbag with her black-gloved right. She looked up at the route map, plastered above the door, and counted to eight. There were eight stops before her destination. In her early sixties, with her shoulder-length fair hair tied back by a red bow, she was unmade-up but for lipstick and mascara. Her slight, lithe figure helped her pass for younger – at a suitable distance. Her dress was casual-inconspicuous. She wore her high-end high street black separates; jeans, hooded waterproof jacket and flat, knee-high leather boots. She aspired to anonymity and, in fact, could easily have passed unnoticed – except for a couple of small details. Inside that large black leather handbag, with silver trim, she carried a chihuahua. Of course, tram-travelling canines usually stepped smartly into the carriage with their owners. Just in case this pooch wasn’t remarkable enough, he also wore a red jacket to match the red bow in his human’s hair.

The human looked down now at the animal, and felt nothing but pity  – for it and for herself. A chihuahua would never have been her choice. It was not the dog’s fault, of course, that it’d been given to her as a let’s-save-this-pathetic-excuse-for-a-marriage gift. She’d tried hard from day one to love the creature, and failed. Three years on, and she and the pet had learned how to co-exist, while her social media status had switched from ‘It’s complicated’ to ‘Separated’. She reluctantly had to admit that a canine greeting at the end of a long day was better than none. So, they made do with each other. Both gave good public face, especially today in matching clothing. They sat in companionable silence, counting off the eight tram stops together. They were going to the vet to find the one good thing that did come out of that marriage. Somewhere, inside the dog, were her Tiffany rings.

A New Year’s Resolution

As for me, I’d like to have money. And I’d like to be a good writer. These two can come together, and I hope they will, but if that’s too adorable, I’d rather have money. Dorothy Parker, The Art of Fiction No. 13 Interviewed by Marion Capron The Paris Review. Summer 1956. No. 13