book of days serial #7

Drive. The stairs at the apartment building squealed like a nest of mice. The apartment was the last on the second floor. As soon as he touched the doorknob a look of somber exhaustion came with the sunlight across his face. Returning home did that to him always. The desperation that came with sharing walls. He used to talk about what it would be like if everything were different, but could never figure out how to make it different.

As she stepped out in the evening she was bathed in a tepid green sky, without horizon, draping and anesthetizing her shoulders and back. The air was very still. She could sense a high breeze that somehow missed Los Angeles and swept a uniform autumnal purity due south. She started down the hill, the grade downward to the ocean, and turned south to watch the slowest rays of the sun finishing their journey. She hurried along the cross streets where the sky rested like a narrow vault deep in a series of bungalow flanked catacombs, and came to a full stop for a moment at the vast panorama of the east to west artery. Upon reaching the parking lot of the marketplace she stopped for several moments on the corner to get her bearings. She stood there, poised, with a book between her elbow and ribs. Her steps became a minced series of points as she shuffled among the people and onto a grass covered traffic island. She sat with the book open on her knees and stared at her coffee. She watched the warm cream begin to disperse. She watched her hand stir the liquids together. She watched the spiral turn to a cloud and to uniformity and forgot the presence of either initial liquid. She read her book in the waning light. Despite her desires, the nocturnal black picnic tapered into the rising night as autumn sagged from the sky.

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