She said on the phone as we made the impromptu appointment, “I’m feeling like hell, and looking it.” She seemed bubbly enough to me.

The art was good. There was a very nice painting of goldfish. Another of birds. I liked both, the birds more. She liked the goldfish more, so I bought it.

The venue was a part of town over near the baseball stadium. There’s a great old warehouse-y type building next door. We walked over because she wanted me to see it. There was an old rack where workers once put their timecards. Each slot had a little card with its number printed on it, all yellowed and faded like manila. She gave me number 2444.

The night was warm and fine, with a glow from the stadium lights nearby. We hung out by the railroad tracks and talked while she smoked. Her bare midriff looked great. I wanted to kiss her hipbones.

It’s a grand thing, to just enjoy being with a person. I must learn to accept the gift without binding a bagful of expectations to it, or trying to tie it to the rails and while I listen for a warning whistle. I must stop doing what my shrink calls “magical thinking.” It’s not magic; it’s timeless as moonlight, and as natural. It’s just two people sharing some time: no ticket, no train. And maybe some baggage we can each leave behind, if we stay in the moment.

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