Charlotte was quick. She was waiting for me at the guest room door, her hand on the knob. She wanted to catch Sylvia in the midst of the ultimate form of human vulnerability: sleep. She gave me a sinister smile.
“Go ahead, Charlotte. See what Sylvia has to say.” I stood arms akimbo and challenged her.
“If Sylvia is the noise I want to hear,” she said.
“What Sylvia isn’t,” I said, “is the piece spinning calm on the turntable downstairs. So let’s go.”
I headed down the stairs certain that she was trailing behind me. I went over to the couch and poured more wine. I sat a moment or two, savoring the music. Charlotte wasn’t with me. I went back up. She was still standing with her hand on the knob.
I lit another cigarette and as smoke flowed from my mouth I said, “I thought you were afraid of her, Charlotte.”
“Why should I be afraid of an old woman?” she said.
“Because you talk too much.”
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