She felt the last of the daylight leave her living room like a mid-winter’s draft blowing through the century-old casement windows.
Carl, good lord, Carl was in the kitchen, opening and closing cabinet doors, looking for wine glasses.
“Are we on the same wavelength?” he asked, “. . . is there any Zinfandel?”
She felt a jolt: Carl. He was everywhere — like litter. He owned the gym where she worked out. He owned the car, an MG Convertible she wanted to drive double the speed limit, ninety in a forty-five, some slick and rainy night on the coast highway.
They’d had three dates, almost by mistake and he’d shown up an hour and a day early for the fourth.
He was small and invisible and lithe and perceptive. He was a daydreamer and circumspect. Being with him was also, at the same time, not being with him.
It was as if he were his own chaperon.
He’d found the wine, a Burgundy, two mismatched juice glasses and the Chevre de Banon she had hidden in the back of the fridge for a party she’d never intended to invite anyone to attend.
She had no trays. He carried everything into the living room on a pizza box top he’d taken from her recycling pile. He’d covered it with foil. As if. He was looking for a light switch or a lamp, a flashlight or maybe a candle, a match or a lighter but there was none of that here.
He sat on the floor next to her and she drifted outside and into the astonishing night.
There was no moon, no stars. Only sky.