After hot soapy dishes (cheerful, for she liked washing up), the air seemed suddenly chill, and the woman went around her house shutting windows. Dissatisfied when she was done, again she went around drawing curtains and locking doors. Something of the silence began to creep in on her and the dark outside seeped in through bright-lit house corners. There was not something the woman could quite define, but she did not like it.

Perhaps the woman’s story began earlier, with a panting run around her quiet evening neighborhood. The story has leftover parts of autumnal sun dimming as her quivering legs carried her pounding round and round. The story has an evening, fresh air cool enough to dry the woman’s sweat and flush her face with exertion. If the woman’s story began earlier, she did not know it. Rather the woman felt like something had sneaked up on her, quiet in the kitchen.

Running her bath, the woman felt very much like not having to think at all, instead piling books near her towel. The mysterious something teased at her and kept tears welling near to spilling. ”Too much quiet,” the woman thought. “I can hear the damn clocks ticking. It’s autumn again, it--“ Again the woman grasped for a word, again she gave up. Soft music and scented candles and lights blazing all down the hallway, the woman was distressed by the night’s easy invasion. Dismayed that she could not find words for the stillness that had been slinking in her all night, the woman sat in her tub and tried to catch up on a month’s worth of magazines.

As she slid into bed later, (dusky in ratty old flannels, burning with fresh washed heat against the empty autumn sheets) the woman found her word and clung to it.Loneliness,” the woman thought, and drowned into sleep.

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