His voice starts out low and soft,
he's telling me a story but I canít hear.
Loud it becomes obvious he's saying my name.
Then he stops.
The door opens again and I open my eyes.
She steps in, sliding through the noise.
The floor moans in the same distinctive pattern
as she takes her place behind him.
Reaching her arms around his neck.
I clench up my fists scraping my nails against the cushions.
Anything to distract my attention

She tells me a joke, but they are the only ones laughing.
Then over the floor and out the door again they disappear,
still laughing.
Just me now, so I close my eyes.
Lean my head against the back of the couch feeling it sigh behind me.
I let my head slide down the back.
Until it rests on the sunken middle of the cushions.
Stinking of beer and smoke and something else there too.
I crawl up across the couch.
Stretch myself out on my back.
Head resting crooked against one arm.
Feet pressing against the other.
The springs snap and coil, mimicking the shape of me.
Rusty, tired, I picture them dying.
I am giving them my full attention,
and they give me the same.

Once more the door hinges creek and someone steps past.
These footsteps make an uneven rhythm right for me.
They stop, the air waits for the next sound.
My eyelids slide open to a fixed gaze on the ceiling.
Fingers running along the seam of the cushions,
snags and zippers.
The words come but they donít sound like a voice.
A hand drops slowly on to my forehead, like a concerned mother would.
Gently resting and expecting.
Wood floor bucks and sways and the body drops to a sitting position.
Beside me,
beside the couch.
Between the cushions the material is still new,
silky.
The patterns jump up to meet my fingers.
The thread stays decidedly in place.
I count my breaths, anything to distract my attention.