She says Come On Let's go over to the Moroccan bar. I say Come On I have work to do. She says I know, and drops it. Her voice means disappointment, and I wince.

As I type up this stupid shit for work I can hear her laughing in the other room, playing on the phone, being the swedish chef and the nutty cajun and my pinch-nosed uptight mom. This report will get done in time. So will the bills and the filing and the errands and all the crap that goes along with helping a friend plan a damn wedding. My mind goes where it will go. I can't help the quiet franticness of How much of her laughter am I missing? I'm jealous of everything I miss; it's selfish.

Here is the best I can do: little moments with my eyes closed, one room over, listening to her life. She is filled with jokes and stories and questions and giggles and if I have to hear them one room removed, at least I am hearing them. At least my house holds unexpected flickers of her. An infuriating number of towels on the bathroom floor. Couscous. Her smell on my pillow. Her smell on me. Her shadows keep me calm. Her shadows keep me.

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