A City of (2)000

By Jules Alder

Revised 27 February 2010. An offbeat entry for ManWithHat's Cities of the World collab.

Ernesto Alfonso Geronimo Túria's people had come from old Valencia, from the time just after Moorish rule, or so the family Bible briefly claimed, not bothering to be explicit about dates or mentioning the Moors. Leonora had seen the ragged-edged daguerreotypes, had witnessed the uneven coloring that had jumped over her father's light manila skin and recaptured her own in a mahogany embrace. The prospect of wrinkling the familial Moorish renunciation with doubt alone would have been enough to get her on the plane despite her strong aversion to all forms of mass transportation (born of a firm belief that travel, like discovery, should be personal and small).

Leonora had a stronger aversion to restraining orders, though, and Piotr wanted her to care for him too much. He had pitched unsolicited woo by reading aloud, "Delta of Venus" at first, "Tropic of Cancer" when she failed to respond to Nin. The affair had been a timid sermon in a Slovakian-cum-Philly accent: an entity, they had never been; she had witnesses to that, if need be. They'd been more like electrons of different atoms passing each other's orbits for a blip, where it should've ended before it began, in some soft, slow-looping karaoke nightmare. Instead it had lasted two weeks. Pulling her study abroad forward a semester, she told herself that genuine cultural inquiry motivated the expedition, not just respite from the exhausting claustrophobia he invariably inspired.

Trysting with a pebbled, old riverbed, now a dried-up but verdant garden, a statue-filled monument to that which had once flowed of its own accord, Leonora kept faith with her paternal roots. Pointing to the dusty path, she said her name to an abuela with eyes wiser than her hands, darting into her face to smooth her hair back, declaring that she needed oil. Then came the new river, the one unknown to the ancestors who would have stepped from their huts. She made Riu Túria's diverted stream her new home, rolling its dialectal name over her tongue between well-spaced sips of horchata, listening to its majestic sounds separate in the air.

She had taken it all in: fascinating bridges fraught with individualism; silvery and golden woods; bald spots of open field too sudden, too ordinary, too anywhere-grass-grows. Thirst drew her from the dorm for foreign nationals each night, diplomatic seals and marble corners giving way to the cooing river. Túria’s curves were an energetic seductress's bared shape tucked in loosely for the night, greater Valencia piled around her like exotic clothing she couldn't be bothered to put on; westerly breezes warmed the air with oranges, like salve. Everything came easy to her banks.

Her back to the States and the infinitesimal speck she imagined to be Boston, reality forcing her to recall its close and complicated streets, Leonora lifted her head to the floating phantasm of the prime meridian somewhere in the eastern sky, its invisibility heightened by a pelt of stars. It was a place symbolic of connection by lines, the meridian—lines, the amoebas of destruction. Scant miles from that imaginary starting point of the world, Leonora sketched the moon’s placid face, recording the date, the phase, its position in the sky, and her location at the time.

Over morning tea and toast, as she added the relevant newspaper headlines to her drawing, the cafe she subbed in when one of the baristas fell ill or needed a personal day tinkled and jittered and rang around her, disinterested in stillness or the science of her quest. Last night’s moon had been ruddy with earth-shine, low on the eastern horizon, and the front page revealed that a baby reported missing in Alicante the previous day had been found overnight by the city police in an electric apartment oven, unsinged. Looking again hard at the sketch, Leonora saw a quiet babe, belly full and content and asleep in a dark, hollow cave.

When she shivered, a rheumatic barista limped over more hot tea and in rapid Català asked if she wouldn’t like something mulled to fortify against the damp that had crept in with the spring storms. Leonora said she didn’t and, in shrugging rhythm with the elemental flow of numbers, the woman limped away to count down the register, it appeared, just to have something to do as the sky wrung itself out into the narrow, splashing street.

That night after class found her back at Túria with another horchata from a vendor taking advantage of the suspended rain. Lean fishermen not yet very dark from the sun, walking home after a good catch, hailed her with some restraint, and she stopped to ask them about the tides. She had mere weeks left to sate her curiosity about body surfing in the still chill waves beyond the port. Their lamp-lit, triangular faces—family men, Catholics, only the youngest of them trying to pierce her woolen dress and silkier underthings with his eyes—told her that the tides were a myth for the weather reporters on TV: "There’s no such thing; the water does what it wants." She wondered later if they had discouraged her to tease or on purpose, to keep her from making a tourist’s mistake.

Either way, she never made it to the Mediterranean, never surfed the waves in her underthings. Her classmates, riding out the last leg of the semester at the ruta del bakalao, always insisted that they should—would—go to the seaside after one more drink, rains be damned; but then summer neared, her study abroad ending as it had begun in an unfulfilled desire that rankled like an undeserved grade.

Back in the States, she stopped procrastinating and came out to her parents over the phone, to both of them at the same time in a conference call, her voice sticking in her throat. She envisioned tiny fix-it men dangling on rappelling lines dug in between her teeth as she struggled to make herself clear across the wires running between State College and Boston. A cadre shimmied up and down her vocal cords, working on making them elastic and vibrant again; others massaged her esophagus, getting it rolling, crooning that it was okay, it was good for her to swallow, get slippery. Then she was in the clear, the conversation abbreviated by awkwardness, the last of the fix-it men calling it quits with a whoop and a holler: "We’re done here, boys, it’s Miller time!"

“Winter's all packed up, Leonora. When will you be home?” Her father’s voice spoke her name as though issuing an invoice. On the phone in their bedroom, her mother added the occasional breath, a sharp intake confusable with static. Their balcony plants would be filtering weak, setting sunlight by now, casting a living hue across the desiccated icons and crucifixes on the wall. A business associate of her father’s bold enough to stride through the master bedroom to the unoccupied, adjoining bathroom once had offended her mother at a party by mistaking them for kitsch.

“Why?" she countered. "Will Lucia be home for summer break?” He paused and she sensed him nodding into the phone and turning over the very real possibility that she was interested in the girl next door, that she was more than interested in, that maybe she was in love with—or worse, that there had been couplings both families had been ignorant of for years. She could see him gauging the acceptability level of that with the neighbors. Lucia had been over for countless pajama parties—rewards for her own strict attendance and high marks at a girls’ private school, all arranged by her mother, who was likely calculating back penance for her unknowing involvement.

"No," he finally said. "She'll be working at her father's new firm in Baltimore." Unprecedented silence from the bedroom line confirmed this, and there was little else to say. Bar hoppers on the street below her open windows screaming about the end of the world and pulling all their money from the banks added a stark coda to the perfunctory, unsatisfied goodbyes.

Then summer work reemerged in the form of telephone surveys for a marketing research firm: “Mr. Ernissey isn’t in at the moment—Catching him is hit or miss—You’ll just have to take your chances—Yes, like a lot around here, reaching him while he’s in the office is potluck—Is this something that perhaps I can help you with? This business is pretty cut-and-dried.” The voice came at her in a seamless onslaught over the line from a Santa Cruz digital platforms firm—or, at least, its champion Doberman. The company's contact information blinked an insubstantial yellow in the inky hole of her terminal. Sometimes a Hispanic voice picked up, and Leonora took the windfall, explaining why she was calling, Latina to Latina, and avoiding the run-around.

Not this call. “I'm calling about your Y2K compliance. It’s really important that I reach the correct person. I can't stress that enough.” — “We’re working on our Y2K compliance,” replied the voice. “I believe we’re on track. We anticipate beating the deadline by several weeks.” — “That’s advisable," Leonora volleyed back. "When would be a good time to reach Mr. Ernissey in?” This high up, it was always him. “Where did you say you were calling from?” Leonora suppressed what would've been a fifth sigh. “Datum Dominion, in State College. Your company hired us to gather important feedback for comparison standards. Simply put, we're quality control. Mr. Ernissey was informed well in advance that we would be calling. You can check on that.”

“I deal with Mr. Ernissey directly. If you give me the questions...”

“Your company stipulated that we speak with him by appointment.”

“Well, it’s impossible to reach him in, so you may as well talk to me.”

“When we turn over the tape, understand, it will be best if Mr. Ernissey is speaking for himself.” Hesitation loomed, then—“Please hold.” And so it had gone for months. Leonora peered around the side of her makeshift cubicle partition. Jennifer took off the headphones humping her ears, the metal a shade too green and drab to be teal, shook out the dyed-red mane that hung straight and coarse, like vertical window blind slats, and jabbed at the tape machine to stop it recording techno music. “Do these women take blood oaths to get these positions? Are there moonlight sacrifices?” she whispered, trying for a smile.

A pause in the beat made them both jump to grab their headsets before realizing it was nothing and resettling. They were alone between the thin, beige walls, sweeping up stray appointments on overtime. “Do you think there’s any truth to the rumors?”

Jennifer didn't have to ask what she meant. The conversation never ended these days. “If the company isn’t up to specs on time, I guess, anything's possible.” Her voice was always pleasant, always the same gentle cadence. She sat upright, hands on her desktop calendar, its faux leather corners pinning down time. It was a snapshot of all that was most likable about her. Others who crowded the phone room in daylight hours thought her pliable. Really, she was just ordered.

“Would it mean anything to you—I mean, personally?”

“I have a small loan, from when I rebuilt the horse barn.” Leonora had all but forgotten that the phone room supervisor showed horses on weekends, and won prizes, too—blue ribbons that went into a room in her double-wide and pictures of family who had stayed put somewhere in West Virginia. Her freckles were the primordial, iridescent origins of liver spots; when she finally did smile, restrained mirth tinged the air. “Not tens of thousands of dollars of debt, like some.”

That conversation never ended either. Students in town, rooting for chaos, for the downfall of banks, saw all creditors as oppressors tied to a machine that deserved to grind to a halt when computer dates rolled over zeroes in the year two thousand, bequeathing years' worth of hardcopy re-entry to the more diligent firms—questionable, arguable records—and an inability to track the past to all those who had relied too snugly on the digital boom.

Myopic programmers had become overnight rock stars, suckling dreams of anarchy. Themed New Year’s invitations piled in Leonora's box: "Kill Your Clock," "Armageddon Night," and her favorite, "DOS Equis." The techno beat had grown more ambient, dreamier, and she yawned at a window, but no moon showed itself in the opaque sky—only haloes cast by the vigilant orange sodium lighting keeping the parking lot safe.

“On a subconscious level, I’ve become a cheerleader for it,” she lamented over a slice of Greek pizza the next day, “which makes me pitifully stupid. It's not a real threat, it's just hype.”

“No! Y2K’s an ally!” David shouted. “It's to starving students what Desi was to Lucy!”

“As Lucy was to Desi, you mean!” Marta reversed him automatically.

“Lucies,” Billings mimicked, “you got some splainin’ to do!”

“—oh, that makes more sense—”

“…as Bernie Taupin was to Elton John!”

Billings had already begun singing "Goodbye, Yellow Brick Road." David shoved a fried mushroom into his mouth as he opened wide on "howl." Sincere coughing preceded a too-swift recovery. Billings, not to be held back, had already grabbed Leonora's slice from her in retaliation.

“Leonora loves peppers—that piece is hers!” Marta crowed, playing right into his hands.

“Here you go, Leo,” Billings sang as he rerouted the slice into her mouth, “since you are breaking my heart that I’ll never get to shove wedding cake between those lips.” Then they all thumped Billings on his rangy back and shoulders because he had known longer than anyone that she didn’t care for men in the way Piotr had wanted her to—had, in fact, broken it to Piotr before she'd had a chance to do it herself. David heckled the staff to have him taken into the parking lot and dunked into a keg cover filled with icy water, but the game on TV had monopolized them.

It was a Saturday, in the fall.

Their dinners out had taken on a familiar, predictable pattern. Marta would begin to look at David sideways soon, and he would grow quiet until Leonora told the couple to go on without them and be left alone with a suddenly taciturn Billings; she no longer enjoyed being alone with him, couldn’t even laugh it off when he made strange observations or suggested that they do something wild together that could only turn out in the same, unchanging way.

“It’s an interesting time to be in the States,” she said, and Marta, done barraging Billings with a playful, open-handed fist, pounced. “It’s 'the States' now, is it? You are really one of us, a woman straddling two flags.” Marta’s ice blue eyes implored her in the awkward silence. They undeniably resembled the campus' unofficial international misfits club, but Piotr had started all of that and, when push came to shove, she had American citizenship by birth. None of the others did.

“Two countries are better than one, right?” Marta pressed, but Leonora stood and shrugged, nationalistically bereft. “I’ll see you all later, yes? Raoul will miss me if I’m gone too long.”

“It’s only been two hours,” Billings objected, but she turned and didn’t look back, afraid that he would take it as a challenge, that his iron-clad five o’clock shadow might scrape her face, scratch the surface of her pale skin, and reach only a raw futility. She wanted him at arm’s length, soft. Besides, a woman waited for the loop to the north side of town, her breasts beneath a burgundy sweater reminding her of the tintos she had begun to take for granted. Full, robust, even a little loud, they yelled at her not to be lonely. They put their cards down hard. They were Jersey breasts with a New York attitude and they weren’t going to let her carry no dumb-ass chip on her shoulder. If they could man up, so could she.

“I’m Heather.” The hand came out, and then the breasts had a face and a body and a name. “I’m Leonora,” she rolled it out like her mother did, “but friends usually call me Leo or Lenny.” Heather replied that she preferred Leonora. Then they were walking together, over still-green, fallen leaves and sidewalk cracks to a grocery store on the south end, having left the bus to brisk on by. The white husk of a moon had a dimly-lit poker face. At its lowest point on the horizon, it would be a gorgeous sybarite, calling to her like a drunk friend about to trip over something completely avoidable underfoot. It was definitely a Saturday, in the fall: the game was on the overhead speaker system inside. Shoppers dragged their feet, buying more than necessary, straining for the announcers' voices from the aisles.

Heather laughed, and they skimmed the tiling instead of walking. Their legs had no weight in the vacuum. In aisle three, the illusion of space became real and for a moment hung in the balance. Beside her, Heather stood still, watching as a man and woman pushed three carts between them in tandem, their carts full of cans. Fruits in thick, carbohydrate syrups spilled over mounds of proteins: tuna, salmon, chicken, deviled ham. The couple had started with brand names; by the third cart, generics and store brands piled up, the aisle’s right side devastated by the loss of whole can cities. A stock boy hovered nearby, feigning an interest in the store's presentation of applesauce.

“I had heard that people were stockpiling…” Heather trailed off.



“Hey—why the hell not?” Leonora tried, but looking away from the apocalyptic caravan didn’t seem to be an option. “I keep hoping that my entire identity will be wiped out. Some days, I actually think it might.”

“That’s weird.”

“Yeah, I know. It’s absolutely insane.”

“No—I mean, so do I.”

“Oh.” She got the meaty dog food, the well-advertised kind that made Raoul hungriest, and a thin Saturday paper, paid the cashier, and they left. She was glad when she got home that Heather hadn’t walked her all the way, that she had stopped at a boutique to shop while it was light out, had promised to see her again and soon, when it was darker. Piotr waited under her balcony, the chiseled, white façade of a load-bearing wall his romantic backdrop. He started like a mistreated pet at her glance, her facial muscles too hard and unyielding to look kind.

“You’re stalking me now?”

“How can you say that to me?” He reached out his arms as though offering to take a heavy object from her, but she shut the door. She had already shut so much to him. When the buzzer rang on the following night, she reopened it, her breath fast though the duplex stairs were short. The last of the sun beamed through a copse of trees, illuminating Heather’s curls and curves, snug with one another in grey Merino wool and a red scarf, and she kissed her between the indoors and the outdoors until the kiss turned thirsty and full of need and freestyle cyclists inbound from Sunset Park yowled out overt approvals. A couple of the cyclists were women who removed their helmets and applauded. One let loose a catcall that made everyone laugh, even Leonora.

“It really is the best side of town,” Heather laughed again.

Her scarf crackled as they peeled apart.

“I know. I love it,” Leonora agreed, waving farewell to the cyclists with stolen glances into all the tree-shaded penumbrae and umbrae before she closed and double-bolted the door.

* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *

Ernesto Alfonso Geronimo Túria's unblinking daguerreotype watched over the answering machine as Leonora lay across the wooden living room futon, half-dressed. Somewhere outside the room, it was a brave, new world. The year two thousand had come and gone without so much as a thunderclap. All of Leonora's silliness lay on the abandoned side of a great chasm formed by the passing of a single moment that Heather and she had washed down with champagne until they collapsed. Heather passed the old photograph and machine with a kimonoed caress. “No call today. Relax.” The answering machine was playing dead, the digital zero lying face-up a hilarious ploy.

“No,” Leonora agreed as Heather settled in beside her to stare at the answering machine and old Ernesto in turns and Raoul got up from the kitchen floor to follow suit. Raoul was her lover’s dog now, their previous owner-pet relationship having mellowed into a solid acquaintanceship, his yellow head in Heather’s lap so content that she only got to pet him when they cuddled. The bedroom was shut to him at night. No more waking up with him in dizzying pools of sunshine on weekends. No more slurping down breakfast and kicking on flip-flops to find a stretch of lawn at distance enough from ultimate Frisbee players and games of catch to meet her bookish demands.

It was the year two thousand now and the bond she'd shared with her Lab was the only thing that had changed until today. She and Heather had changed. Their ante meridian lovemaking, for months a Sunday staple, had been strained. The bedroom had seemed small, the modest sized bed choking it. At least in this room, where the television set and several large bookcases reigned, they could look at each other, smile, and remember a time when breathing had been easier and enough.

“I can’t take much more of it,” Heather exhaled, at last relinquishing the appearance of calm. Transfixed by her great grandfather Túria's indifference on the matter, Leonora silently agreed. When the phone finally did ring a week later, it wasn't Piotr skulking on the other end. They rose to its summons, two dutiful daughters, and arrived at the packed, downtown bistro ahead of time. Unhurried brunch patrons still laid claim to their seats near the buffet, leaving them standing with a dozen others waiting to be seated for lunch. More sat at the bar, barely drinking, looking at edges.

“Luckily we’re an even pairing,” Leonora declared, squeezing Heather’s hand under the table for solidarity. As their fingers interlaced, the knot of their hands came up and laid itself between their placemats, elbows off the table just to be polite. Heather smiled for her first, unforced, before turning to the parents Leonora hadn’t seen in over a year, come straight from a mid-morning mass.

“You are both very beautiful. I’ve always wondered where Leonora”—her mother twitched at the carbon copy of a lifelong, intimately possessed sequence of sound—“gets her widow’s peak”—her father smiled as he would have in any business negotiation not going strictly his way—“and her eyes. The photo of your grandfather Túria only tells half the tale. He's so colorless.”

“Leonora,” her father’s low voice was dipped in the Català accent he shed in his day-to-day speech, the one rarely exhibited in public. He clearly wanted to draw a line of demarcation. “We got a call last—yesterday,” her father began, but ceded the floor when her mother leaned forward, the looped rosary under her blouse clinking against itself.

Leonora wondered how many times she had made it to Gloria Patri while her father drove through Massachusetts, Connecticut, New York, and New Jersey, and whether or not he had had to stop in eastern Pennsylvania, searching somewhere off the highway for his sanity in the snow-crusted fields, begging to be returned to a civilization he could support. “What has Leonora,” her mother's voice quaked, “told you of us, of our history?”

“Not as much”—it stung Leonora to hear Heather weigh her words so carefully—“as I would have liked.”

“Who did you get a call from?” Leonora broke in, her father looking askance at the question. She found herself sitting more upright, her chin more level, her back more squared as Heather thumped their hands lightly against the table in a demonstration of unified camaraderie.

“Piotr called. He called several times over the last week.” She felt a blush. Heather blanched. Her mother’s black eyes commanded hers, holding some small veil of a harridan's triumph in them that made her stomach detach. She had rehearsed a longer speech, but she dispensed with it to cut to the chase.

“We aren’t friends, so I doubt that whatever he had to say means anything to us. What he needs is a restraining order, and if he didn’t wish to teach someday, I would’ve filed for one a long time ago. He’s been making our lives very hard over nothing. I never liked him nor misled him.”

“Are you sure that you know all the facts?” It was not like her father to be malicious; as far as she knew, he hadn’t a mean bone in his body, but he peered at Heather as if he were handing over a magnifying glass, the implication in his thin, set eyebrows that she’d be a fool not to scrutinize further. Before an objection could break from her lungs, Heather had jumped up and run from the restaurant. Leonora watched her cross the intersection without looking, and her heart went after her, even as her mother went on about how Piotr and Heather had been sleeping together, right under her nose. She had heard it was common among the bisexuals—her tongue tripping tellingly over the word, having probably never said it before—their being so reversible, so wishy-washy. Something in her stridency suggested that at least she could see some virtue in full-fledged lesbianism: she gestured, flippant, her hands reenacting Heather’s flight nearly to scale while Leonora sought the world outside the bistro window for a contextual clue about her next move.

Students came and went heedless of the crossing signs.

“It has never been easy to talk to you about anything, at any time, Mother.”

Short, tall, slim, wide: they each traipsed along to the sluggish tempo of the bottleneck.

“What is so difficult?”

For a moment, purpose dimmed.

“It’s pretty cut and dried,” her father stepped in. “You're coming back to Boston.”

The concrete gave no quarter to those who faltered.

“Think of it as a respite, Leo—a time,” her mother interrupted herself, "to regroup."

For a succession of pulsating moments, everything was unsure.

“We can help you figure things out. There’s always Emerson and MIT. You still have their acceptance letters. With your marks, I’m sure it wouldn’t be hard for you to transfer.”

Leonora got up and stood by the table. The hostess, still scanning for open seats, looking her way, backed away from her glare, taking refuge behind her podium. Leonora looked down. “I’m not going back to Boston, not now—maybe never. Is that cut and dried enough for you?”

“Don’t be like that, Leonora.”

The crossing signs changed.

“Let her go, Angelina. Let her go.”

No, the crossing signs signaled walk but nothing really changed.

“Let her go!”

Her father put his hand over hers, the gesture reminding her of previous kindnesses offered when she had lost at something—had not come first in a writing or speech competition or not gotten the part she wanted in a play—when she had just needed to bounce back. “Dad—” she began, but he was already there, ready to pick her up again, prepared to sacrifice his time to set her straight: “This is just temporary—We understand—It’s college—Remember when you wanted to be an actress? Do you remember how embarrassing that was for us? I still get asked about it.”

Head still down, she said, “It will be worse if I don’t leave now. I'm sorry that you came all this way for nothing,” and then she left, head forward, following the faintest tendril of will. On the street, she paid no attention to anything besides the unfriendly concrete.

Both doors were unlocked at the apartment. Leonora crept inside as though she were entering someone else’s place. No calls were logged on the machine; Ernesto had not as yet cracked a smile. Heather packed without acknowledging her arrival in the bedroom, using the same small valise that had accompanied her to Valencia, Raoul at her feet. “It was either this”—Heather grabbed the flap to make her point when she stared at it—“or a grocery bag reading ‘Thank You, Thank You, Thank You for Shopping.’ Don't worry, I’ll get it back to you without a fuss.”

Leonora sat down beside the worn canvas. It had been a gift from her mother, for the maiden journey to college. Don’t check it on the bus, trust me, just pack light and carry on. We’ll send the rest by truck. She hadn’t had it out of the closet since returning from Spain.

“Maybe I want a fuss.” It had taken her a while to find the words.

“Well, Leonora,” Heather put her hands up in the air, a tube of toothpaste in one, socks in the other, “I don’t. I have to get up early for work tomorrow and I’m already tired and I want to sleep.” She looked a little like her childhood friend Lucia when she slipped into mild protestations like that, Leonora’s mostly imagined girlfriend for all those years. Her fancies had gone nowhere, in the end; but at least Lucia still called every now and then with gossip about her old arch rival for all the best parts in school plays. She hadn't become an actress either. “Oh. Marta and David called. They want us to go out with them this evening. I told them we were probably just staying in. I can’t remember who’s supposed to call who.”

“I’ll call them back.”

“What are you going to say?” Heather had found more socks on the floor. “You don't want to go out tonight—just like that?”

“You were able to stop him from bothering us when I couldn’t. Win-win.”

Heather straightened. “That’s true.” She compressed the clothing in the valise with a frown. “But I think you might not want to see me for a few days.”

The window trough beckoned to Leonora and she sat in it, her thoughts of the boats in their moorings—of the larger ships in the shipyards she had never gotten to see on the Spanish coast—and of how the moon would look tonight over those waters. She looked out the window to entice Heather to it, wanting the blindness that was the two of them close together without knowing how to bring it about. “Tell me what the moon looks like to you,” she whispered and felt curls tumble over her shoulder as Heather came to the window to see. “It’s fat—a fat head, stuck in the sky.”

“Does it look anything like a baby—a baby curled up and sleeping in an oven?”

“What?” Heather laughed and stared at it for the longest time before speaking. Raoul had resettled at her feet by the time she answered, his doggy sigh high pitched but short. “I don’t know. I suppose it could be anyone, anywhere they wanted to be—not stuck at all, but simply waiting.”

“Si,” Leonora exclaimed into the dark as those lips came up behind her in a first, low swell, and her fingertips ventured out once more into the unknown. “Si, let’s go with that.”

A City of (2)000

Created: Feb 20, 2010


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