All were locked. He rested his hands on the roof, cooling them, and rubbed his cheeks. A cat squeezed between a fence into an alley, and he staggered to the avenue, turning north, seeing the cat again as it squeezed through the other side, or likely the acme of many others, those which had come before and in between, those that would come, its days gone by squeezing between one to another of how many numberless and wordless obstacles, and darted across the street. He followed it, almost jogging past the church and garage, the storage facility and several more apartment buildings, which ran into the stretch of their own. The lights were on upstairs when he dropped the keys. She heard them fall, the bubbles gathering at the bottom of the great steaming pot. ―You’re late. She had almost whispered. He crossed in the dark, not appearing to see or hear her, clearing her throat, to the bathroom. She lifted a pile of kale and dropped it into the boiling water, stirred, draining it before transferring the colander to a bowl of ice water. Stirring, ―What?
―What, he looked up from the couch, where he appeared to be engaged in nothing.
Does he just, is he just, she thought. Is this like staring at Richard too long? or falling asleep? this hatred he has for me. ―I thought you said something.
―No. He put his head down on the couch.
―Would you like something to drink?
―I don’t, like, know if that’s like a great idea to be perfectly…
―I mean, like, seltzer or tea or something.
―Oh, actually. Yeah, tea is nice. She put the kettle on the burner. She fried zucchini and mushrooms.
―I’m sorry I didn’t get any meat.
―Everything was expensive. There were some, like, gray looking chicken breasts I didn’t think you would want, considering.
―It’s fine. The tea appeared by his head. Rubbing the side of it with his hand, misshapen slightly, he could feel if he thought about it.
―Dinner’s ready. He ate and fell asleep in the shower, came out and saw the tea, cold, on the floor beside the couch. He emptied the mug in the sink. He sneezed, gasping a little, and then twice more. Shivering, he found the bed and woke in the dark as her alarm went off. The sound of the pill bottle faded. Alex closed the door with his foot behind her. The lock turned in the other door. Roused, he faced the window, the fire escape. There was a note on the kitchen table: doctor's appointment had to go early. there is oatmeal -laura. He turned it over and wrote ok. Pouring orange juice on the counter around a glass, he thought, fuck with a thousand Ks and laughed.
He laughed again recalling the incident on the train. The windows were dry, but beads of condensation formed and glided down the glass between the bridge and car. He did not notice the financial district or wear earbuds. A woman’s feet swelled out of her shoes.