Matthew,

Last night, the basement played a lot of music of it’s own volition, maybe in celebration of new occupants.  Clyde found a marble and chased it with gentle flicks of a pencil, testing for imperfections in the cement, or slants in the foundation.  I don’t know if in the building, or the earth itself. Adam threw darts he found at a photograph of Richard Nixon, from which he had removed the glass panel.  I tried to watch Dragnet, but I’d seen the episode before, anyway, and the basement seemed hell-bent on reminding us all that love is a battlefield. It’s done that to me before, so I think it’s a pattern of truth.

At dinner time, I made two cans of Campbell’s chicken noodle, in two different batches because Clyde told me he likes it better with milk and I’m lactose intolerant.  I made grilled cheese sandwiches in a half-hearted way because there’s no mustard and I like mustard on mine (I realize cheese has milk). After we ate, Adam went to the workbench and wrote a long time, and Clyde took me to the big bed and fucked me with my panties pulled to one side.  After he came, he laid on his stomach and smoked a cigarette and asked me, “What’s a nice girl like you doin here, Fox?”

But he knows the answer.  All the wolves here smell fox in a manner that differentiates me only slightly and confuses the line between competition and prey.  Maybe Bonnie and I are, at heart, not very different from the likes of him. At heart, we’re all rabbit-eaters. Yeah, Clyde, I fucked your girl and she lovvvvvvved it.  

“Killing rabbits,” I told him, absently, and he squinted and dragged his cigarette.  

“Not many of them around.”

I wondered if maybe the difference between anyone here and anyone who’s left us is the fact that they’re rabbits and we aren’t.  Not an inferior species in the least, but one of a different disposition; more suited to going to ground.

As he crossed the room, Adam added his opinion and removed his shirt.  

“Most predators will scavenge when necessary.”

“Quit saying I’m dead meat,” I quipped to both of them, and Adam met me with a smirk.  

I felt him rise in the cold and early morning before my dream came, and I reached for him to pull him back to me.  He let me, met me at the mouth with his delicate fingers and pried me loose of Clyde's sleeping body to tousle my short hair in his fists while he came into my mouth.  He gasped Evelyn and sighed me away again, tucking me back to sleep like one of our children.

"I love you," I said to him, disoriented.  I felt a sob in my chest that belonged to my dreams and he kissed it from me slowly.

"Sleep, Evelyn.  I'm going to see if he needs more blankets."  And he slid all his shadows down the stairs to you.

I haven't dreamed so clearly in months, what followed me into darkness being that a huge and grotesque red spider clung to the skin of our mother.

"What's that?" I asked her, blanching, and she smiled.

"Oh," she said, wrapping it's long and brittle legs around her hand and settling it against her chest.  "Oh. Hello there."

Panicked for her, I crawled away so it wouldn't touch me, the slow-moving arachnid inevitable noticing me.

"No," I protested to her laughter.  "No, I don't want it to touch me."

She laughed again, her musical laugh, her white hair catching the sun, and my son's dog smelled the spider, and lost interest.  It shone in the light, gold and fragile, and I could admit to myself it was beautiful, if to no one else.

When I woke in the dawn approaching, I was afraid for the first time that you wouldn't stay.  Clyde watched me, his eyes open, as if he knew, but would never say.

Love,

Evelyn

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