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She lies down on the grass near the bush that hides her from the footpath.  The sun is barely glimpsed through the lower branches.   The air is becoming colder and she opens her blouse to feel fresh dark air on her breasts.  She closes her eyes.

Some time passes on the wet soil and roots by the bush.

A sound of shallow breathing wakes her and she sees an old man standing above her, leaning down.  She smiles at him.

'Are you alright?', he asks as he steps forward a little.

'uh huh.' 

He starts to turn, but she touches his shoe.  'Where are you going?'

'I just wanted to see if you were alright.'

'Are you going home?'


She stands up.  

'I'll come with you.'



In his small apartment, she sits on the sofa, looks for him in the other room, flicks her loosened shoe high into the room.

The heel strikes the light bulb on the ceiling and bits of frosted glass sprinkle down into her hair.

The man comes in with some tea cups rattling on a plastic tray.

He sits next to her.  She doesn't look at the tea.

Her hand his hand his neck his lips her thighs lead him to the bed.

Within a minute he twists his body in spasms, eyes widening.

She goes back to the sofa, and closes her eyes.



The woman wakes up from her rest on the sofa, and looks over at the man twisted between the bed and the wall.  He looks uncomfortable, one leg still wedged under the cover, his left arm pointing straight up, stuck in that position by the weight of his body pressing against the wall.  He seems to stare unblinking at the broken light bulb in the center of the ceiling.

His color has changed, she notices.   

She straightens her blouse and gets some water from the tap, sipping it as she walks over to the side of the bed.

She lays down, her head near his, not noticing that she spills the water onto the pillow.

She lifts her body to pull down his raised arm.  She leans into him and reads his watch. She notices that he is precisely as cold as the air in the room.

He must be at least eighty, she assures herself, and might have had a full life, given what little she had learned of him in the hour between meeting him and seeing him die. 

She lets his arm fall, which it barely does, then sh rolls onto her back, and stares at the broken bulb in the center of the ceiling. 

After a few minutes, she gets up and leaves, but just as the door is closing behind her, she comes back into the room, finds her underwear and skirt and shoes, puts them on, walks back towards the door, remembers her purse, gets it and leaves without glancing back at the old man.



She is mostly hidden in a bend in the wall. The last worker disappears into an alley at the far end of the square.

The town is silent.  There is no wind, but she feels the air on her hand, and on her lips, and under her hair.









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