SATURDAY 20 FEB 2010

Sunlight and birdsong drifted in through the open window and Ian stirred underneath the bedsheets. He grunted, begging for just a little more rest, then sat abruptly up. He looked around the familiar room. He saw the breaking, wooden dresser with socks hanging out of an ajar drawer, the teetering ceiling fan with a blade missing, the dirty tan carpet with things strewn about. "Thank you," he mumbled to yesterday's Ian for giving him today.

He lifted himself out of bed, straightened the sheets, and moseyed into the kitchen.

He found a sink filled with grimy dishes and splotchy silverware, a barely-stocked fridge, and a houseplant, dead of thirst. He turned on the faucet, splashed his face with water, then rubbed a browned leaf apologetically and decided he'd buy a new one along with groceries.

Ian searched for the keys and found them along with some cash in a cracked mug by the bed. He stepped into the garage wearing boxers and a t-shirt that might once have been white. There was a car, a dinged-up old Mercedes, with two spare tires and one side-view mirror. He unlocked it, sat in it, and started it up. He drove out of the neighborhood and to a local Food Lion. He turned off the ignition, got out of the car, and locked it.

He returned to the car and subsequently the house with three heavy paper bags and a potted plant.

He restocked the fridge and pantry with what he took from the grocery, stuffed the dehydrated plant into the garbage, and replaced it with the new, greener one. He rummaged through the sink to find a pot, rinsed it until it was reasonably clean, filled it with water, and put it on a burner. He rubbed drowsily at his eyes, turned on the stove, listened to the crackling of whatever had been stuck to the bottom of the pot, waited for the water to boil, poured spaghetti into it, and smelled the steam while he waited for it to cook. He tested the pasta and decided it was ready, drained it with a fork, poured lukewarm tomato sauce into it, stirred it, then brought it to the bed and sat down.

While he ate he looked at a calendar and found the most recently crossed-out day was Friday, the 19th of February. He put down the pot, found a pen, crossed-out Saturday, and with his elbow knocked the hot contents of the pot onto the bed. He frowned, sat on the bed away from the mess, finished the rest of the pasta, shoveled what fell out back into the pot, stored the pot in the sink, and gathered up the sheets. He tossed them in the garbage and told them, "I've had you around for too long, anyway."

Ian found the living room. He walked past the torn-up couch and scratched-up table, leaned down to hit the power on the TV, surfed the channels until he found cartoons, retreated back to the couch, and threw himself onto it.

Ten hours later, he pried himself from the couch, stubbed his foot on the table, switched off the TV, and walked to the window in the bedroom. He sighed disappointment, realizing he had missed the sunset. He crawled onto the naked mattress, looked over the floor until he found the pen and a notebook, took them up, and skimmed over the pages until he encountered the most recent writing. It said, "Friday, 19 Feb. 2010. Today I ate cereal, worked in the office, ate a hoagy, mowed the lawn, and showered."

Underneath it he wrote, "Saturday, 20 Feb. 2010. Today I bought food and a new plant, ate spaghetti, spoiled the sheets, hurt my toe, and watched cartoons." He hesitated, then added, "Today was pleasant. I don't want to die."

He closed the notebook, replaced it and the pen on the floor, laid on his back on the bed with his head on the remaining pillow, noticed the cold without sheets, and stared at the ceiling. He said to Ian of tomorrow, "I had a good life. I saw places and people, and I had nice sensations. I felt little pain. Now I forfeit it so you might have a good experience, too." He shut his eyes noncommitedly, took a deep breath, shivered, took another, then drifted off to sleep.

"Thank you," tomorrow's Ian mumbled.

Written by Sophie Kirschner