5 a.m. and I am trying to sneak in quietly. No lights are on and when I pull the door shut it's pitch black. I pause and wait for my eyes to adjust and that's when I see her:

small red lantern of her cigarette, shining bright, then fading.

As my eyes clear I can see her shape, sitting crosslegged on the floor by the couch. She has a coffee mug in one hand, but I'm thinking she's not drinking java. Neither of us says a word. I wait for her. She waits on me, sending smoke signals toward the ceiling as the sunlight starts to seep through the houses across the street. For a while the only sound is the hum of the refrigerator in the kitchen. Then the street cleaner comes around the corner grinding its way down the street. Sweeping up the night debris.

As it gets lighter I can see an expression on her face. It looks like amusement, but I am probably mistaken.

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