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"Wait, stay just a little longer," he told her.

"The drive is so long and it is already late."

The nature of the delay, like an hourglass, is measured by the growing length of ash at the end of her cigarette. Conversation tends to stop as the burning of the tobacco becomes the center of attention.

"Why the rush? Just stay here tonight."

"Too much to do in the morning. If I do that I'll never get anything done," she reported as the cigarette reached its midpoint of expiration.

The relevant nature of intimacy. Staying the night is a far greater commitment than the act of lovemaking. The cigarette continues to burn. She reaches for her jacket.

"How about we get together Saturday for a drink?"

"Sure, why not. I'll bring my cigarettes." She extinguished the last remnants of the night in the ashtray by the side of the bed and handed me the tiny bowl of memories.