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winter of discontinuity | scene, somewhere

“she’s back.”

“who’s back?”

“you know. that girl.”

“no. what girl?”

“that girl you used to pal around with.”

“what?”

“don’t be stupid. that girl in research. short, quiet. kind of nondescript.”

“well, how’s a description like that going to give me any clue what you’re talking about?”

“ugh.”

“all the girls in research are quiet.”

“fine! okay. the girl you always rode to work with. that one. little. big eyes. kind of stammers when she talks. that one.”

“oh. oh. oh — her.”

“yes, her, blast it. only the girl practically the whole company thought you were dating.”

“what?”

“don’t give me that. you knew — you had to know. you came in and left together almost every day. people were bound to talk.”

“how do you know all this?”

“the girl at the front desk. she sees everything that goes on here.”

“mmm, she ought to, with those buddy holly glasses she wears.”

“that is not the point.”

“sorry, i didn’t realize this conversation had one.”

“oh fine, be that way. what do i care? i just thought you might want to know she’s back.”

“huh. thanks, i guess — back from where?”

“you didn’t know?”

“no, obviously not.”

“how could you drive to work every day with her and not know something like that?”

“contrary to popular opinion, i was not dating her. something like what?”

“when was the last time you saw her?”

“i don’t know. a month — two months — ago. i — was drunk one night and … said things. she walked out and i never saw her after that. i assumed she didn’t want to see me.”

“you sure you weren’t dating?”

“yes, you idiot, i’m sure. so what happened?”

“she been out for three months — not two — because she had surgery. how could you not have —”

“— surgery for what?”

“cancer or a tumor or something. i don’t really remember. but are you completely blind? there’s no way you could not have known about it.”

“i never go down to research. when i have a question, they don’t have the type of answers i need.”

“but you saw her every day, right?”

“well, yeah.”

“you saw her often enough to argue with her. how could you not know something was wrong?”

“she never told me.”

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