It is Sunday morning. Remi has gone to the train station to pick up a friend from Paris who is in desperate need of sun. At my suggestion, he took Ben with him. Before the heat sets in, our dog will enjoy the ride and make fellow drivers smile from his post at the back of the car. I had a few small but crucial items to buy--coffee, toothpaste--the things that glue our going together. I turned without thinking down the alleyway that curves sinuously to the shops, a route I now take to avoid passing in front of the door of a friend that is no longer a friend, my feet padding along the cracked pavement in my espadrilles like the paws of a dog. And that is when I realize that is precisely the sound that is missing. It is odd to not have Ben near me, trotting along, looking up at me with an expectant grin, just as it was unusual to move through the apartment, straightening up, grabbing my keys, without the pull of Remi, the knowledge of him working in the other room, fed by so many pricks of the senses. The sound of a sneeze, fingers clicking on keys. Such is the life that we have chosen together that I am rarely alone. Everyday, around the clock, so close as to be enmeshed. As it is with Ben too, who is always present because we are always present. He stares at me for no reason, reeling in my attention. This is how I found my myself waking while walking, oddly conscious of the boundary of me moving forward on my own. Quiet so that I can hear my pulse and feel the air parting around my torso as if walking through waves or breathing out a bubble. Suspended for an hour or so. I can hear Remi's keys in the lock of the front door below. I turn my chin reflexively, in anticipation that the bubble will pop.