It was, after all, the Sunday before Rick was leaving for good.

I climbed on top of him partly dressed, hoping that he couldn't tell that I was wired, and had been since moments after he'd left for the Dodger game. The waterbed rolled under my knees. He was a beery ragdoll, passive in comparison to the bed.

The electricity had been turned off for several days. The candles by the side of the bed dripped into jar tops and gilt-edged saucers stolen from the Caltech faculty club. Even in the bedroom, you could smell decay from the three refrigerators, now defrosted, in the co-op kitchen. Shadows jerked and flitted among the cardboard boxes.

When I was sure he was asleep, I blew out the candles and felt my way out of the unfamiliar room, fingertips first on the cool glass of the French doors, then palms on the wall. My pulse rang in my thumbs.

forward          anywhere         lines