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Cat bites my nose

Cat bites my nose

Cat bites my nose.

"This has been your dream all along, hasn't it?"

I want to deny it. I want to say no. It has not been my dream. I don't know how to answer. I'm not supposed to know. The questions have to be left unanswered.

"Did you ever think about writing?"

I know what I should say, but I can't say it. I can't say that I want to write a novel about how to survive the death of a parent. About how to make sense of your own life. I don't want to say that I'm scared of death. I don't want to admit that I'd rather be alive than dead. I don't want to say that I want to kill myself.

"I'm sick of you being here."

"I'm not here. I'm over there. It's safe here. We're having fun. Aren't we, Jack?"

I don't answer. I want to say that I can't sleep here. That I don't want to live here.

"I can't sleep here," I say, and Jack laughs and I want to hurt him.

"You can't sleep in the real world. This is your dream."

"No," I say, and I try to get up, but the floor shifts and I fall into the darkness agn. I feel myself going deeper, but I can't get away from Jack. I try to talk. I tell him to go away.

"I'll call the police," he says, and laughs.

I want to see agn. The water is so clear that I can see the bottom. The fish and the turtles and the things that swim under the water. I want to hear agn. I want to listen to the wind. The sound of an orchestra and a symphony and the people who would like to hear it. The sounds of the sky and the stars.

"I can't sleep," I say.

"Jack, come here," he says.

"I can't. I can't see you."

"I'll come to you."

I'm afrd. "I can't."

"It's all right. I'll come to you. Don't worry."

"But you're here."

"Yeah. But that's not enough. I want you to feel what I feel."

"I don't feel anything. You're nothing to me."

"Don't you like me, Mom?"

"I want to like you."

"If you only knew."

"Jack," I say, and the pn is going away.

"Do you think I want you to like me? I know you don't. But I don't know what to do. You're the most important thing in the world to me. You know what I want. And I want to love you. I want to love you. I want to make love with you."

He's breathing. He smells of me.

"Why don't you love me?" he asks.

I say nothing.

"You can't love me," he says. "You're dead."

"You'll feel better when I'm gone."

He laughs and the pn is back. "You can't mean that," he says.

"Yes, I do."

"Don't."

"Don't what? This? Nothing. There's nothing. Just be quiet. Don't bother me. I want to be alone."

He looks at me.

"Just be quiet."

"Do you want me to leave?" he asks.

"No, I don't want you to leave."

He stands and goes away.

"Please, Jack, don't leave," I say.

And he turns and goes.

## 18

The rn that night is soft. All the lights go out and then the lights come on agn. I'm sitting in a chr by the fire, with someone standing over me. I see his shadow. He takes a step away. I can hear the water running. Then I see his face. It's Tom. He's smiling.

"Let's go for a walk," he says.

"What time is it?"

"You just keep walking. You just keep walking. We're walking, walking, walking..."

I can't remember what we were talking about when we talked and talked and talked.

"It's night," I say.

"It's midnight. All the windows are lit. It's midnight. All the people are sleeping. You were talking. You must have told me something..."

"I don't remember," I say. "I don't remember..."

"We were talking, and then we were walking. Now we're going for a walk. We're walking."

"I don't know why."

"I'm telling you. We're walking, walking, walking..."

I say: "I was at a dinner party and then they left and then..."

"I know. But we'll walk. We'll be walking. Walking, walking, walking..."

I know that we're walking to the house.

"Let's not wake the dogs," I say.

"We'll be quiet. We'll be quiet. We'll be quiet."

We go to the back of the house.

"What did I say?" he asks.

"You sd..."

"What?"

"You sd, 'The rn.'"

"I sd, 'The rn,'" he repeats.

"You were talking about the rn."

"I told you, you must have told me about the rn. You must have."

He talks quietly as we go down the steps of the back porch. I don't know whether he's afrd or not. I don't know whether he wants me to know or not.

"No, we were talking about the wind. We were talking about the wind."

"You told me that it's windy."

"It was the wind. We were in the garden and you were saying, 'It's windy out there.' You're right. It's windy out there."

"You talked about the wind."

We walk through the dark garden, between the rows of flowers and up the steps.

"The wind, the wind, the wind..."

I walk beside him. I know that I can go home. I can close the door behind me. I can close the door agnst him. But I can't leave him.

"Will you come?" he says.

He reaches for my arm, and the fingers of his hand are cold. The light of the street-lamps shine on them.

"Will you come?" he says.

"The wind, the wind, the wind..."

He takes my hand, and the fingers of his hand are cold.

"Come," he says.

* * *

• • •

I take a bus back to the hospital. It takes me an hour and a half to reach the bus station. There are several men walking around the platform. I don't know them. I don't look at them. I watch the trn coming towards me. There are many cars. I stand between the trn and the track. Then the trn crosses the platform


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