I had to stop using water for things like bathing, or coffee, because this weird city made him worry about water and where it’d been and what it’d done. We washed in milk. 

The apartment we lived in had huge doors, beautiful and important like signs of another city. We stepped outside them once and a child had been shot, a tiny body outside our beautiful doors. The blood ran for what seemed like miles, though eventually it all washed away, and he would say things to me about how unnecessary it all was and complain about the smoke from the fires, and then we’d bathe extra often. 

The most beautiful thing is his hair now, numinous, from the milk. Not once did he ever think about the cows while he ran the milky sponge around my knees. What kind of ritual is this, I’d think. What are we doing.

The quickest way to learn the words for things is to not want them.

Over breakfast we’d run our tongues across our teeth after a night spent breathing in ash and the dryness of each other. I had unrecognizable hands, the hands of someone old. He warmed the cups of milk over the stove and I’d hold them in my hands and lean against the wall, watching him blink slowly. Mornings were quiet. To feel violently about your own body, and the body of another, and to be accustomed to it.

Eventually we began to thirst for other things: salt, and oil, and no longer for each other. On Saturday I went down to the ocean to wait.

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