The goddamn telephone was always ringing. No one I know would call me at this hour … any hour. No one I know would call me here, period. I felt like a ragtime prohibition floozy with one foot in a drain and the other atop a case of Chinese gunpowder, all blanched almond cheeks, dental dams, and laughing gas. “What’s so funny?” you asked when I giggled wildly at the thought of someone else and that they might be calling you. You couldn’t know what I was thinking, though, and I shouldn’t have found it amusing, since I wasn’t the one playing with all the sharp objects: You were, and I loved to hate you, even if you didn’t notice or didn’t care. You just wanted me to “hold still” as you leaned in close, the moisture vapor collecting in tiny droplets on the inside of your mask.

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