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21 Twenty-One

    I hadn't seen Will in over a week, not since I dropped in and found him on his way out to pick up his date. So I decided to drop in again after therapy.

    Will was opening the apartment door to leave as I knocked.

    "Déjà vu," he said. "How's it going?"

    "Never mind. It's nothing important. I'll see you later," I said.

    "Nah, Annie, come in for awhile. I'm not going anywhere special."

    "No date?" I asked.

    Will stepped back inside his apartment and waited with raised eyebrows while I decided to stay, then decided to leave, then decided to stay again. I finally went inside and followed him to the kitchen table, where I sat in my usual chair and propped my feet up on the one across from it.

    "No date," he said, and it took me a moment to remember that I'd asked. He added, "I was just going out for a new keyboard. Mine broke."

    I turned to his desktop and saw his keyboard scattered across the desk in pieces, the cord dangling over the edge like a suicide's arm off a bed.

    "Broke?" I asked.

    "Well, stopped working adequately. And then I threw it across the room. Then hit it with a hammer for a while."

    "You might want to make an appointment with my therapist," I told him.

    He made an exhaling sound through his teeth that meant, "Whatever."

    "Hey, are you okay?" I asked.

    Will looked at me with focus, but after a few silent seconds, I realized that he wasn't focusing on me but on whatever new idea had burrowed into his brain. He sighed and said, "Do you think it's possible to find the judges? Do you think they genuinely exist?" He shook his head as soon as he asked the question.

    "Will, are you trying to find them?" I asked, leaning toward him. "That's dangerous, don't you think?"

    "Never mind. It's not important. Just a thought. How was therapy today?"

    I didn't want to change the subject, but I found myself telling him about my conversations with Dr. Parrish anyway, skipping over the details when I got to the part about Keats. Will knew the highlights of that story, anyway. He'd heard them before I did.

    Will laughed when I told him that Dr. Parrish and I had been discussing the benefits and drawbacks to vampirism.

    "That's a good hobby for you," he said, "trying to convert the masses. Sad that you can't actually convert them." His face lost expression, but after a moment he found it again. "What have you been up to these days?"

    "Oh, you know. Same old thing. Taking walks. Taking baths. Staring out the window."

    He shook his head. "Come on," he said.

    He stood and grabbed his keys, and I followed him out the door.

    "You need to get out more," he said. "Do something. Why don't you get a job? Or join a knitting group? Get a pet?"

    A pet. A puppy. The thought teased something in my memory, and I searched for it. Brown puppy eyes, but not a puppy face. A baby face.

    Lydia and Kevin and their momentary baby. I remembered that I hadn't gone to check them like I'd meant to. The party had been two weeks ago now. I hoped they were okay.

    Tomorrow, I would visit them, no more forgetting it or putting it off. I would tell that Lydia I was sorry for the way things turned out, sorry that it was impossible for her to be a mom. Commiserate a little.
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