What happens is this: I send you home on the airplane with a whole pie.  What happens is I walk you out to the car in this rain that  you just let fall right on your face and neck, not bothering to pull the hood of your jacket up.  What happens is that I worry about the pilot, about the long arc of high-altitude focus, the engineering and physics and luck of weather that must occur in order to get you home safely.

I get afraid that this happiness tempts fate.  Because of the way you grinned and sat on the counter in your track pants while I cooked the birthday breakfast.  Because of your face next to mine, kissing for twenty minutes in the freezing wind in midtown with the lit angels and mob of photo-takers.  Because of the warm vanilla smell in Magnolia Bakery.  Your ungloved hands in your corduroy pocket.  The split job of whipping cream with a fork.  That park between the bridges (Manhattan and Brooklyn, I am learning), a slow shutter speed, a tiny bottle of Colt 45 and you show up just in time, give me the money to buy pretzels.  Red wine and cauliflower soup and Jo the waitress and your handwriting on the tabletop in the train car.  Because you look so good dancing.  How could I deserve all of this? It isn’t possible. But here we are.

It’s Sunday now.  You would say I have the Sundays.  I have a stack of stories to read for class tomorrow.  I have a sink full of dishes; I have empty pie plates to wash.  I have to pack my own suitcases and to clean and send e-mails and return phone calls.  I know it is only a few days until I follow you back to that other coast.  But still, the act of you leaving – the work of saying goodbye – makes me want to sit alone in my bedroom and to drink whisky with the rain continuous, with the rain making its noise.

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