Ruby was an introverted, young woman who lacked the luster that came with her name. Maybe her extroverted mother had overestimated the sparkle that would surround her only daughter and considered naming the girl after a vibrant colored gem. But Ruby lacked all the fire and passion that characterized the red stone. She was not even a drab yellow or creamy white, so topaz and pearl wouldn’t have been better choices.
The woman worked at a call center hidden behind a phone connection all day. She didn’t mind talking to strangers as long as she couldn’t be seen but only heard. There was something unsettling about face-to-face communication. It was too intrusive, judgmental, and the risk of funny facial expressions was a matter that couldn’t be ignored.
Ruby’s job was a six-day week workload, so Sundays were always free for household chores, grocery shopping, and washing and folding laundry. But since the woman was swift and organized, she was mostly free by four-thirty and that’s when she stood in front of the mirror and gave her reflection the middle finger.
Off came her baggy clothes and on went that tight, red dress, hugging her hips and exposing her shapely legs. Makeup did wonders that no scientist could explain, and Ruby’s ordinary face went from boring to intriguing. She stood taller in her heels and felt that the world was hers to conquer.
The bar at the corner of Burbury Street was always buzzing with young and fashionable people. Three shots of vodka and Ruby was ready to stir up conversations, declare her otherwise hidden desires and inhibitions. She stood on tabletops and invited strangers to dance with her, laughing as they swarmed around her, tickled by their enthusiasm.
And as the evening progressed so did the distress in the woman’s stomach. Running to the washroom and vomiting outside a bathroom stall became an embarrassing weekly ritual. Finally, the alcohol out of her system, the woman resumed her introverted behavior. With chunks of vomit and toilet paper sticking to the front of her dress, she quietly exited from the back entrance.
Hardly distressed, Ruby anxiously waited for another Sunday to try and shine her very best.