On the couch, sleepy, I moved, woke myself to talk with Gracie. She had just come in, locked the door.

“A guy could sleep in a bed once in a while,” I said.

She said, “Were you here when Rachel got home?”

“She’s in bed.”

“You hungry?” she asked. “Here’s some food.”

She pointed at a cardboard box.

“It’s late,” I said.

“Two. Veggie pasta. Do you want any?”



She fiddled around, hit lights, and headed up he stairs.

I got up and went out. The moon was bright. One of those spacey moons, when you can see the mountain ranges and oceans, and glaring white plains.

I walked a little ways, gathered the heaviness in my head, tried to round it up, contain it, compress it and store it away.

Went back in. It was cool out, a relief, but cooler inside with the hum of non-stop air-conditioning. Went up and looked at The Wimp. She had my mouth, lying there on her side, squashing it against the sheet with a small opening for air.

Went into the bedroom and got in bed with Gracie, wrapped my arms around her and told her I still loved her, even though I was fucked up, and my love wasn’t first best, by any stretch of the imagination.

She was asleep, heard me and didn’t hear me, told me I was right, but to go ahead and stress my imagination anyway.

And I whispered something about second love, or third even. She groaned, said she was sleepy, grabbed my hand, and slept with it curled against her.

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