I hear his voice paging other women in the building. I’m sitting on the floor leaning against a metal fixture which is cutting into my back. It’s the only area you can’t see from the balcony. This is where I go to hide from managerial eyes. It’s not comfy, and if I moved over about a foot it would be all right, but then I would have to see my reflection in the dark window across from me. I have chosen this discomfort.

I told them all about him, let it slip on purpose, guarding the details was no fun. I wanted them to know my secret. --If I seem a little distracted, well, it’s because I am thinking about sleeping up against someone’s warm back. That is what I am lucky enough to have in my head right now. This image makes me happier and stronger. I cannot be made weak or sad. This is what I kept saying to myself.

Now, my ears ache from wanting to cry. I know if I did cry, it would be over in a few tears. Not that deep an ache. But any ache is no fun. And ego ache is insidious; it sticks around. I knew it was dangerous to let myself open. I didn’t pretend to know how this would turn out. I only hoped to be lucky enough to have someone to memorize.

You know how it is. When you fill your day with thoughts about someone you don’t really know. You think about his hands. You convince yourself you’ve got evidence of how sweet he would be, how he would adore you. That illusion breaks. You mostly hate yourself, betrayed by your assumption that you knew what he was, with zero proof.

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