I kissed Marla twice -- once on New Year's Eve, and then again 12 days later.  She is a dancer with thin arms and fat thighs.  Kissing made her nervous.  "This makes me nervous," she said, and kissed me again.


Alexa is crying.  "If I tell you, you might change your mind."

"I won't change my mind."  She looks at him and Robert feels something in his chest.

"How can you know? You don't even know."  She is hysterical now, her face is a broken mirror, her lips are swollen and wet. She crumples into his chest.

"Trust me," he says.


Later they are under the sheets.  He has given her a stone with a word carved on it, as if by typewriter.  He is inside of her and she makes noises like a rusty tin machine.  She is squeaking.  She is about to come, and when she does her fingers find his and grips them fast in a mousetrap-slap.  He discovers she is still holding the stone.

Afterwards, as if by sweat, the stone is stained the color of the evening sky. Just yesterday it was gray.


We are on the roof.  The sky is bright over Cambridge but still the rain falls softly, slowly, on our hands and through our hair.  Marla has caught me with her eyes, and knowing this makes her happy.  I want to look away: the Charles, the wet sky, my life on the other side of the river.  "Alright," I say, and her tiny hands dig into my sides.

"You mean it ?"

"I do."

"Michael's coming to Montana," she sings softly.  "Trust me -- we're going to be so happy."

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