Spending the summer in France, where I'm pretending to know buildings. Seen in Toulouse, June 11th, 2015
If the city were a tomato, Véra's apartment would be the ugly green nub at the top that everyone is quick to discard. Next to all the stately red brick architecture, her building appeared sickly. She hated living there, but it was the cheapest place she could find in the center of town--and she would accept nothing less than the center of town. Véra didn't get an engineering degree only to live in some 1970's, concrete, metal-shutters monstrosity across the river. She didn't get a job at CNES to have to take the bus.
That's why, the morning that her boss let her go--false words of sympathy dripping from below his mustache and pooling on his fat stomach along with a few mustard stains--she didn't blame her performance, or sexism, or her education, or her upbringing. She blamed her building. She should have tried harder, looked online for more listings, borrowed money to afford rustic rooms in a medieval house with flowers in the window boxes.
When she got home, she bought tomatoes from a nearby produce stand and pelted the walls. The juice and seeds were paler than she'd hoped, but beneath the light of the setting sun, the wet plaster was almost the right color.