The Draw of Emptiness

The man laid on his stomach, snoring softly, the sheets twisted around his right leg. Lamb sat beside him and wondered what his name was. After a few minutes it didn’t matter and she got up, pulled on a pair of panties, picked a t-shirt up from the bedroom floor, and tugged it over her head.

She walked barefoot to the kitchen. The tiles were cold because the day before had been warm and she’d opened all the windows and forgot to close them. It did smell fresh in the apartment, though. Lamb busied herself by rinsing out the wine glasses, emptying the ashtray and starting the coffee. She didn’t worry about making too much noise, partly because the man seemed like a deep sleeper and also because she wanted him to wake up and leave.

Mornings were hers. She made of point of spending them alone.

The coffee was ready and she poured herself a cup and wrapped her grandfather’s heavy wool cardigan around her shoulders and stepped out on the balcony. Lamb smoked and stared.

She remembered reading somewhere that when angry, eskimos used to leave their igloos and start walking. They’d keep going until they felt better and then they’d drive a stick into the ground, or make a little tower of rocks. She imagined all these little sign posts saying I’m over it, jutting up from the tundra.

Lamb found the idea romantic, but was unsure why she’d thought of it.

The shower was running, so her guest must be awake. She thought of making him a coffee, and then decided not to. She waited until the water stopped and then went back out on the balcony, closing the door behind her.

If she had any luck, Lamb thought, he’d slip away without letting her know.

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