You leave before dawn because it feels clean. No matter how cold this air, it greets you with a quiet joy not unlike your lover’s continual, surprised gratification. You float down your block, grateful for everything you carry on your back. You can’t even remember that if you had left an hour later you would be hunched, sucking your your foot out of the ground.
Each night you come home. You fix your fourth meal. Sometimes you unseeingly throw your bounty into Tupperware. Sometimes you deliberately shred your mozzarella, pluck your basil leaves, and draw your balsamic onto your china.
Then you will bathe. You run your water as hot as you can get it, so hot that it assaults you when you get in. You tend to forget how it scalds, but each time it barks against your skin, you smile in remembrance of last time’s shock. You take too long in the shower, marveling at the hundred-year-old pipes.
Across the hall, you leave the lights off and the blinds up, because those damn things fell down a week ago and you wish they were lavender linen curtains, anyway. You will sit on your bed, back against the wall, as you push your lotion into your legs, always top to bottom, running your hands down again and again, ensuring that every patch of skin will get its due. Each time down, you graze your feet to let them know you’ll get to them soon, when you stroke the day to acceptance. Then you burrow, thankful to have a sleep-friendly song stuck in your head. Tonight, you hope to dream of nothing, so that tomorrow your life again will be crisp.