I hate opening the gate myself to park the car. I want an automatic one. What I hate more is having to go back and forth a couple of times before entering my gate because one neighbor parks his truck on the other side of the street and the other one parks his car in front of my house and the garage entrance is very narrow. I really hate it. I curse them in my head over and over again during the entire process. At least, they are silent now.

She is home late again. She takes the basil she stole from her aunt’s backyard and goes for the dead flower pot she put in the laundry. It is all withered from the few hours in the car’s cupholder. She tries to take the dead plant out, but the roots are all tangled with the dirt and, to save some time and some cleaning up afterwards, she only cuts the stems, opens a hole in the dirt and puts the basil with a too small root in there, like a person would do when he or she has to tell off a kid without actually wanting to. “There, it’s done. Hope this damn thing grows. How can I treat it so badly and expect it to grow?” The strange certainty that the plant has to have its head up passes through her mind, and, for lack of better object, an empty plastic bottle is used to put it in the correct position.

I stop the car at the gas station to fill the tank. There’s almost half a tank yet, but I want to. The guy in the red car parallel to mine stares at me for a second. He is middle aged, going bald. Easy target. Very easy target. I don’t even have to dress up for this. I look down and check myself: a simple top and jeans would do the trick, amazing. I pretend I don’t know I am attractive, or do I really only know it in such moments? I was turned sideways to check the pump, but with the corner of my eye, I see a man checking his motorcycle tires. He is partly hidden by a car parked right in front of me, he is a few meters ahead. For one entire minute, I watch his moves, I try to see his face, like a peekaboo game, where the excitement of me being wrong was mixed with the disquieting perception that this hair, this neck were all too familiar. I pay the gas and look again, this time, without obstructions. I have never seen this man in my life. I sigh in relief – even the attendant notices – enter the car, roll down the windows, start the engine and ride away. There isn’t much traffic, it is late at night on a holiday, why would he even be here in this city anyway? As the car turns right on the last curve before exiting the avenue, comes a deeper, longer sigh.