Coffee. I take a sip of blistering hot coffee and feel it burn down my throat. My eyes are closed, my mind still half asleep. The coffee feels hot in my veins.

Shower. Hotter than the coffee. Well, maybe not hotter, but hot enough to turn my skin red. I shampoo my hair and use the same shampoo to soap my body. Note to self, need to buy soap.

Shave? Not today.

More coffee. I sit at my kitchen table and read the newspaper. My apartment fills with light as the sun continues to rise.


The market. What was it that I needed to buy? Coffee? I can always use more coffee. Peanut butter, bread, some eggs, a small thing of milk. Hmmm. A bag of pretzels. Maybe some wine. An incredibly dry red might be nice. Need to go down the block for that. What am I missing?


Lunch. Peanut butter sandwich? Why not. I sit at my kitchen table eating my peanut butter sandwich and drinking a glass of milk. I'm fingering a file that I brought home from work. I shouldn't have brought it home.

I finish my sandwich. I'm still fingering the file. I push my glass of milk aside and turn open the manila cover of the folder. The copies of the photographs are relatively new. The photographs themselves are very old. All victims of the same man. His scrap book. I push through them until I find the one of my mother. The photo is distorted, but I know that it is her. In my mind I can see her clearly, her steel straight spine, her dark glossy hair, the way she positions her feet when she stands as she poses for a smile. They both are dead.


In the bathroom washing my hands. Can I wash the feel of those photographs away? Can I wash my mind? Where is the damn soap? Damn it, I forgot to buy soap.


In my favorite vinyl record store. Lovingly caressing some exquisite, tumbling jazz. It has to be vinyl.


Where did the time go? I stop on my way home, grab something to eat. I walk into my favorite Italian place, head to the bar to pick something up to go.

"Oh hi Mr. Goren. The usual?" The young girl behind the bar asks. Have I been here enough to have a usual? I open my mouth to say something, but I don't feel like speaking. So, I nod. 20 minutes later I'm headed out the door with a caesar salad, extra shavings of parmesan, and 

spaghetti and meatballs, extra meatballs. Apparently, I have a usual - this was exactly what I was about to order.


Mmmmm. Red wine. So dry. So nice. Caesar salad, perfect. I should've put that folder away. I get up, grab the folder, walk toward the skinny hallway table and stuff the damn thing in my binder. I sit back down and open the spaghetti and meatballs. Oh, so good. Another glass of wine. Maybe I'll listen to some jazz.


Walking down the block to buy some soap. The evening is nice, cold. The cold air burns my lungs. I like the feeling. It clears my head. The wine keeps me warm. You can't often see the stars in the city. Too much light. I look up into the heavens anyway.


Another glass of wine. I should've gotten something sweet while I was out. Should I go back out? I don't think I can walk by that folder without pulling it out and looking it over again. I hate myself for that. I take another sip of wine. I'm humming a tune, not from the jazz I listened to earlier. It's a lullaby, Irish. Toorah loorah loorah. Damn it.


Last glass of wine. That is, the last glass from the bottle. I haven't talked to any one today. I haven't talked at all today. An entire day, no talking. A quiet day. I drink the last sip of the last glass of wine. I set the empty glass in my sink and look at the phone. Without thinking, since I'm past thinking, I pick up the phone and I dial her number. I hear her voice, soft with sleep.

"Are you asleep?" I ask, so lame.

"Not anymore," she replies. Across the phone, I can practically hear her stretching. I imagine the softness of the blankets on the bed where she sleeps, the softness of her. I want to be with her. But I can't be with her. That damn folder in the hall way represents the reasons I can't be with her.

"I'm sorry." I say, apologizing in that general way that people have when there is so much to apologize for that they don't know where to begin.

"What did you do today?" she asks, I can hear in her voice that she is awake now. She is asking me about my day, to get me talking. She knows I forget to do that sometimes. She knows that I can go an entire day with out talking.

"Tell me about your day," I turn it around. I want to hear her voice. I want to hear her tell me things. I love the sound of her. Though sometimes I have problems focusing on what she's really saying. A quiet day.