the bathroom light
which he also used as a nightlight
had gone out.
he did his laundry in the tub (now in the dark):
one of many small steps to save enough money
to take that pretty girl out to a nice dinner.
and when she finally said yes and they had established a time and place
four weeks had passed
and with what he had managed to scrounge together
($6.75 for two loads of laundry
$9 every Friday by drinking water instead of $3 G&Ts at happy hour
$5.38 by eating ramen instead of buying a cheeseburger
$14.99 [plus tax] when he returned the new shirt he'd hoped to wear)
he had $64.52.
not enough for a bottle of wine, but she could get two glasses of malbec
(he'd just claim he was training and only order water)
and he'd hope she didn't like appetizers and dessert
but she ordered reasonably
and his flop sweat dripped back into his pores.
they walked to her car just as it began to rain
and after a kiss goodnight and an implication of future plans,
he walked back home,
singing along to passing cars and trodden gravel.
and his bathroom light was still out.
so he opened the blinds
inviting in the midnight moonlight.
he fell asleep smiling at dancing clouds and summer breezes,
wondering how much he could get at that
pawnshop down the street
for his new tv.