Downstairs they were arguing, the three of them. Tones no words, just tones floated up the airshaft and through our open bathroom window, riding on the cigarette smoke. The weary, angry voice of an older black man. The woman's voice, cool, minty. Mr. Why-Can't-You-Be-Normal's voice, sand in your eye.

I leaned on the edge of the kitchen sink, daydreaming and running warm water over the pile of dishes.

A big cockroach picked his way along the baseboard and scuttled into the dark nether regions under the cupboard. He knew the ins and outs of the roach motel.


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