I drove around and got to your house accidentally. So I sat there with the windows rolled down for the cold night and I looked at your windows, and they were dark. I turned the radio on, I smoked a cigarette, but I was uneasy. I changed the stations, I rolled another cigarette. I put the seat down and I thought perhaps I’ll stay there for the night, and I almost lulled myself down with a thought of how, three years ago, I waited down here on the nearby bench, drinking one of six beers I had in a bag I got from the all-night store, sitting across the street from you like I am now, looking at your windows as I do now, watching your silhouette as you were pacing the room, phone to your ear, trying to get hold of your shrink who was in another country. You told me to get out and I said no, it may have worked with other men but not with me, woman, and you went into a panic attack, and you were pacing, and you were crying, and I was standing there and there was nothing I could do.
So I took my keys and I waited outside and I was looking up the number for your shrink when she’s abroad with my phone on a neighbor’s wifi, and I texted it to you and I watched as you talked and I saw how your pacing eased and calmed as you did. And then I drunk the second beer, the third, the fifth, the last.
I thought of that night and it was a familiar country in my head, and maybe if the cold was less biting just then, it would have been enough, but I was still uneasy, and I got out of the car and I jumped up and down a little, trying to keep quiet and looking at your window. But that didn’t work, and so I got up to your place and broke in, quietly, and sat like a thief in my armchair in your dark living room.
I sat there, staring, betrayed, at your new drapes, twitching my legs and wanting to smoke. I took off my shoes, taking care to leave them neatly by the chair, and I went to your bedroom door and I almost sighed out loud with relief when I saw you were sleeping alone. I don’t know what I would have done that night if I saw you there with somebody. I sat there on the bed next to you, watching you breathe, and breathing with you, and then I lay down, and then I curled into a ball and watched you like this all night, matching a breath for a breath. And as the sun came crawling through the window I got up, very gently, and closed your bedroom door, and I made you a nice breakfast. Quietly as I could, and nothing too fancy. One piece of bread, very lightly toasted, one piece of bread toasted almost black, with the edges cut off, on the edges of the plate, and a simple salad — lettuce I ripped by hand because I couldn’t find a knife, and some cheese — tried to arrange them all nicely on the plate, and I put my shoes on and I closed the door behind me. I often think of it, and about many things like that, and of what you might be thinking to yourself as you’re eating those breakfasts.