The best part of working tech crew is disappearing and working magic and being a spaceman.   Dressed in black with soundless shoes, I sweep in when it's dark and rearrange things.   They will know someone has been there but they will not know it was me.   Behind the heavy back curtain is the best spot because there are no glimmers to break up the ink I swim in - it is space, cold and simple, and everything echoes. Sometimes I take big moon steps back there, sometimes I mutter to Houston on the headset. The others know to ignore me.

The headset is a good part too. Like a Walkman, but with a boingy slender antenna springing straight up from the earphones. The better to hear you with. I have heard many things I am not supposed to; people put it on voice-activate, and forget, and I quick switch mine off and start learning all about them. Sometimes people are extra dumb and talk about me. I stay silent. I absorb their multitude of wrong opinions and remind myself I did not want them to really know me.

Most of them.

The headset was what brought her close, in the beginning. Later she would find shakier excuses. She walked up smiling and smashed the idea of personal space without a thought and then it was her face in my face, her warm good breath all around. I was paralyzed, I was charmed. I did not know her name that day. She never asked to borrow the headset and did not remove it from me - she bent the mike out, away from my lips but not far. Chatted up the spotlight man, her lips the same distance away on the other side of the mike. She worked the controls on the pack clipped to my belt, resting on my hip. She knew what she was doing.

When I was little I was convinced one day I would see aliens and no one would believe me. Or I would achieve telekinesis, but only when no one was around. Or I would have a Snuffleupagus.

She was used to being on the other side of the curtain. Talking, for everyone. I would stand in darkness, disappear myself, shut my eyes and just listen. So it was just for me.

I assumed we would not even be friends, but she came to talk to me when no one else was around. When no one else was around, she would say, You're so warm, and touch me on the hand or, sometimes, on the neck. Or she would say, Smell my hair, new shampoo, it's nice, go on, smell it.   And I would, I would shut my eyes to be in her cloud for a second.   And then she would ask me for boyfriend advice and I would think, why isn't this really happening, why can't anyone else see it.

I wanted to say things to her like, What are you doing?   or, Why do you like your face being so near my face?   or, Why in the big fuck do you keep talking about boys? But what came out of my mouth were the ordinary easy needy lies like, Sure, of course, I'll give you a ride, I was heading that direction anyway.

Her dumb name sounded like a molded plastic girl from Malibu. Her dumb clean t-shirts advertised her sorority every damn day. CK One hung around her, faint and spicysweet.   But it was ok.  We talked about real things; it was not all flirt; her vocabulary was exotic and made me want to know all the stories she had stored up, all of them, all of them. I hoarded what I got because I knew it would not last. There were a few moments you will not hear about; no one will. But they happened.

There was not much time between finding out she was moving away and saying goodbye. I did not realize her last day was her last day until she was saying it, and was looking at me like she knew everything but would not be caught saying it. And she dropped her eyes and laughed a low laugh and punched me on the shoulder.   That was it.  She punched me on the shoulder like we were little boys, or men, and didn't know how to be easy with each other.   But I knew how.   And I couldn't stand it, I said Tanya what am I supposed to do with that? She looked at me as if she did not understand, and I saw that she really didn't.   And she looked afraid.   And she left.   I scared her, and then she was gone, and that was it.

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