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The Anti-'Friday Evening'

Friday, October 12, 2007

Knowing the alarm will go off at precisely 5:45 Monday morning goes an awfully long way toward ruining Ayesha Thomas's Sunday nights.

The 32-year-old data analyst from Gaithersburg compares it to "the opposite of Friday evening."

"On Friday night you have this feeling of exhilaration," she says. "Then on Sunday you have the stress of work and maybe being with the people you don't want to be with."

She doesn't really mind the people she works with now in a relatively new job. Which is all well and good, but that doesn't mean she doesn't get the blues as the weekend slips away.

Somehow even the normal things seem worse on Sunday. The dinner dishes, the organizing, the picking out of clothes for her 10-year-old daughter, Abeba Baptiste. Dread makes everything feel more weighty.

"The weekend puts you in a different reality," she says. And for Thomas, that means going out dancing with her sisters. For Abeba, it means sleepovers at Grandma's and the chance to watch television.

"Then all the regular stuff comes back to you again on Sunday," Thomas says.

Because even if Thomas, who emigrated from Trinidad and Tobago almost a decade ago, doesn't dread the work, she dreads the hour-long Metro ride to and from Crystal City. She dreads the hustling and the exhaustion and the time away from Abeba.

The weird thing is the way this one evening -- the one she likes least -- insists on lingering. Almost every night of the week, Thomas can crawl into bed by 10 and drift right off to sleep. Not so on Sundays.

It's then that she struggles, staring at the clock as it ticks, ticks, ticks toward 5:45.

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