The tree beside the window was blooming but scentless. I sat on the star-covered spread. Smoked clandestinely. I lit candles, though they were verboten. The fireplace was flanked by tile. Lustrous. It would have been a sitting room when the house was new. I could do nothing there and he lived on the other side of the door, breathing, offering me quarters. Here is the key to the washing machine. Clean the toilet. Sleep beside me. I drove away from there, through the hillside neighborhood up to the house where the young man lived, back near that shitty little airport. I burnt a hole in the cassette case with my cigarette. Listening. Every moment fell into every moment. I held my own. I kept up. I did not crumple.

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