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She is wearing a pale pink nightgown under a sort of see-through bathrobe that reminds him of a shower curtain. She is standing in the sunlight and the sunlight is yellow and white as it shoots like a column through the living room. She comes to him.

“I thought you had disappeared into nothing,” she says. “I thought you had left for good. I was going to ask you to sleep on the couch but I thought that would’ve been rude.”

She slides in beside him. She chatters and laughs and moves her buttocks forward and back against his loins. He obliges but doesn’t make much of it this time. It’s morning. People stretch in the morning.

Eventually, she falls back asleep. He gets up, goes to the bathroom, hums until the piss comes out. He looks in the mirror. He feels sexy. He looks himself in the mirror and he feels absolutely beautiful, totally on. His eyes are like two swords, flashing and blue.

Is this what it’s like with her? He wonders. I feel sexy, but also stupid. Sexy because it’s always raw with her and stupid because I have to pretend like I know what’s gong on. It’s never what it seems with her and I don’t know why that makes me feels stupid but God how I wish I could make love to her one of these days for eight hours straight. Maybe that’ll give us a big enough window to return to where we began, or at least enough time to figure out what the hell we’re doing and I suppose also get it done till its over with.

He dresses, goes up stairs to her room to get his coat. On the wall are five drawings and they’re all of naked women, sort of like Tarot cards. One is drawn by him, it’s taped to the wall beneath the other’s. Its title is Canopy and it shows Mary staring at you with her eyes wide and her mouth open and her breasts exposed. Between the breasts is a yoni, a vulva made of ripples. It’s sprouting from a phallus that extends from the body below her, which she is straddling. Between the penis and the vulva is a curved horizon, stretching out across her torso. Along the horizon, from the foreground into the distance, is a row of dancing figures. It’s a very fluid drawing and he made it one night while she was sleeping. He notices that with it placed where it is, on the bottom of the others, it makes the penis out to be the foundation of the whole pantheon.

He says the word pantheon aloud and walks back downstairs.

“I fell asleep,” she confesses, stretching.

“I know,” he crouches down next to her. “Are we still on for this evening?”

“Five thirty at the Raindrop?” The way she pock’s the “p” in Raindrop is cute. He suppresses the urge to put a hand on her, to touch her face, forehead, hairline. Her breast. Warm. He looks away from her and thinks about where he’s likely to be in seven hours.

“Can’t we meet up somewhere else?”

They make plans for six at a café in his part of town.

“Or,” she says, “we could go out to coffee right now.”

“Sure.”

“Give me ten minutes.”

While she’s in the shower, he writes a note that reads “Happy Valentine’s Day. Let’s meet up tonight, like we planned. (Rndrp NE) Yours, Patience.” And then he leaves. Two blocks away he realizes he forgot his watch, but doesn’t go back. He needs this day, has a notion that somewhere in these hours he’ll be able to find the place to put all that’s still inside him. Swirling in him.

When he gets to the Raindrop Café down the street from her house, he walks in, orders eggs, toast, hash. He tells the waitress to hold the coffee until halfway through his meal. The voices of the other customers are loud and make him feel on edge. He reaches into his book bag, pulls out his journal, begins taking notes.


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