Mr. Monday: My First Publication

I could hear the kernels popping in the microwave as the smell of butter filled Clarissa’s kitchen. I stared at the numbers as they counted down. The movie played loudly and I peered around the refrigerator to see what was going on. Then I noticed a photograph, framed in wood on Clarissa’s mantel, it was of her and of someone else; someone very familiar.

——————————————

Clarissa Elliot lived across the street from me at fifty-four Livingdale Drive. The women who lived in the neighbourhood called her a “polyamorous” because of her busy dating life. My mom didn’t listen to the neighbours though since she wasn’t the type of person to label people. “People are people, not cans of soup.” She had told me, when I called Eleanor Evans a “whore” in tenth grade. Every time I brought up Clarissa’s dating life, my mom would say, “The girl has had a difficult past, she’s a young woman, and she has every right to try and rebuild her life.”

Clarissa allowed a man to come over every day of the week, except on Mondays, when she’d babysit me. Clarissa was amazing, she enjoyed crafts and allowed me to do anything and everything or naturally she was perfection in the eyes of a nine-year-old girl. It was so strange to watch such a kind woman entertain all the idiots Clarissa did. I didn’t any of the guy she saw, apart from one.

I left Clarissa’s house late one Monday evening; we had lost track of time making crafts and watching movies. The seasons were changing and the moon was out early, bringing with it a chilling breeze and I pulled my wool sweater tighter around me. I was about to cross the street when I bumped into a tall man with a bouquet of yellow daffodils. As a tiny nine-year-old, the collision forced me to the ground. The tall man stood over me, his silhouette glowing from the moonlight. He looked down at me with a perplexed look on his face.

“Sorry little one,” he said. I was so startled I didn’t say a word. “I didn’t see you.” He extended his hand and, after a moment, I took it.

“Are you leaving Clarissa’s?” He asked, bringing me to my feet. I nodded. “She’s lovely, isn’t she?”

“Yes, she is,” I smiled. I looked at his right hand where he held the yellow daffodils. “Are those for her?”

This time he was silent and I assumed he was embarrassed. He simply nodded.

“Don’t tell her, but I’m a secret admirer.”

I smiled. Suddenly it became colder; the breeze became violent as it ripped through the trees.

“Go home little one, it’s getting cold.” He smiled down at me, again.

I crossed the street toward my house. When I reached the sidewalk I turned around and found the tall man watching me.

“She’ll love them!” I called to him, hoping to ease his nervousness. From afar, I could still see him smiling at me. I opened the door and I thought about all the men that visited Clarissa. How Mr. Tuesday was a reckless idiot with a motorcycle, how Mr. Friday made Clarissa take a taxi home and how Mr. Wednesday liked his corvette more than he liked her. As I took my shoes off, I decided that Mr. Monday was my favourite.

Mr. Monday came by every Monday at 7:35 pm, with a bouquet of yellow daffodils in his right hand. He always left them in the middle of third step in front of Clarissa’s house and even on Mondays when she was home he’d refused to knock the door and say anything to her. I’d peer through the window every Monday evening after I went home just to see if the bouquet in his hand would change but it never did.

My birthday fell on a Saturday that year but Monday was a holiday, so to kill two birds with one stone my mom celebrated both on Monday evening. So, instead of going to Clarissa’s house she came to mine. When seven o’clock came along that evening, I pulled Clarissa to my bedroom window, we sat there for half an hour eating cake with pink icing. I wanted to show her the dedicated man who came to her house every Monday to leave her a bouquet of her favourite flowers.

Finally, Mr. Monday came along, with his long navy coat and the daffodils in his right hand. “Clarissa, look!” I said grabbing her hand. “There’s Mr. Monday!”

“Who?” She asked bewildered.

“The man who leaves you those daffodils. Your secret admirer.”

“Where? And how did you know about that?”

I saw Mr. Monday place the bouquet where he always did: in the middle of the third step. “He just placed the bouquet on your step. Right there!” I pointed, but she didn’t see him. He walked down the sidewalk and stood right under the streetlight, but she still said she couldn’t see him.

Two weeks after my birthday party I planned to talk to Mr. Monday and hopefully convince him to knock on Clarissa’s door and hand her the daffodils himself. I sat on my doorstep on Monday evening, waiting for him to arrive. When he did, I let him set the daffodils down, but before he could walk away I ran over and stopped him.

“You need a little courage,” I said bluntly.

“Hello, little one.” He smiled down at me.

“Why don’t you wait for Clarissa and give her those yourself? I’ll wait with you.” I encouraged.

“That’s not a good idea,” he sighed, “plus, she isn’t home.”

I sighed too. Mr. Monday began to walk away; I had to run to keep up with his long strides. “Mr. Monday, you have to try and talk to her or you’ll never know if she likes you back.”

“I think it’s better this way. It’s too difficult for me to explain, little one.”

We reached the main road where the lights gleamed and cars sped past us. “But, don’t you like her?”

“I love her, I just can’t face her,” he replied.

“I can help you!” I offered. “Come back tomorrow.”

He laughed. “I wouldn’t be Mr. Monday if I came on a Tuesday. Now go home, little one, it’s getting cold.” We had walked so far in such little time and the streets were beginning to look unfamiliar. It was getting late and I didn’t want to get lost, so I said goodbye to Mr. Monday.

“Goodbye, little one,” he said.

I headed back toward the main road, and then turned around to see if the tall man was still watching me, but when I turned, he was nowhere to be found.

The next Monday, I went to Clarissa’s house earlier than usual; I wanted to watch scary movies, but I was too afraid to watch them in the dark. We sat on her couch eating popcorn and once the bowl was empty she sent me to get more. I walked to the kitchen and popped a bag of popcorn into the microwave. As I waited for the four minutes to count down, I noticed a picture of two people on Clarissa’s mantel. I walked toward it, looked closely and noticed Clarissa and Mr. Monday.

“Clarissa, why didn’t you tell me you knew Mr. Monday?” I asked her.

Clarissa took her eyes off the television and turned in my direction. “Pardon?”

“That’s Mr. Monday, the man who leaves the daffodils.”

A look of shock and confusion covered Clarissa’s face. “That isn’t Mr. Monday. That’s my husband, John.”

“You’re married?” I asked, more confused than before.

She sighed, “I was. John past away eight years ago.”

*   *   * *

Clarissa lost her husband in a factory accident. A few years after his death she began dating again; trying to replace the love she thought was lost, but her husband’s love for her never died along with him, it stayed and returned every Monday evening with a bouquet of yellow daffodils.

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