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We are breathing in the dark, lying somewhere between the thready cotton sheets and the last warm air of summer.  And I can feel the rhythm of her heart through the layers of her ribs and her back and my chest and my ribs against the walls of my own rhythm to create a syncopation that no one else knows.  Just ours.  Ours in the stray light from street lamps that stain the room amber.  And it’s one o’clock.  Soon to be six.  Soon to be queueing at the terminal and take-off.  Take away.  One and one minute.  And she is awake.  I trace the places on her arm where the skin is smooth and where it isn’t.

“Do you like it here?” I ask, a hair above a whisper.

“Of course I do,” she says.

“I wish you could stay.”

“So do I.  A long weekend is never long enough.”

“Then stay.  Nobody’s making you leave.”

“Except my job, the bills, and a cat who prefers to be fed.”

“I meant you could live here.  Bring the cat and the bills.”

“But what would I do?”

“We’d figure it out.”

“My career is back home… and yours is here.”

“I wish you could stay.”

“So do I.”

And I listen to the syncopation against the walls within my chest.  Breathing in the dark.  Breathing in the dark.

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