Cordial buttered the bread in the kitchen. It was not too late for tea. The toaster was greasy. Its crumbs littered a dark corner by the refrigerator, and a silver spoon stuck dispassionately out of a small jar of strawberry jam. Hank! she waited. Hank. Now from the other room I heard Hank groan for silence over the mild modulation of the television newscast. God damn it, he said. This news is disheartening enough, without you jumping on me all the time. Give me a drink. It’s cold in here. The amber sunlight came through the pink curtains in a gray that discolored everything like a layer of grease. Hank! she called with renewed vigor, bending her awkward body through the door. Now I was left alone in the kitchen. The cupboards and the sink oppressed me with their sticky sterility.

June 1972