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  • It was all wrong, so wrong. He knew this.

    He tortured himself with this thought the entire way there - leaving the office early, riding the train, walking to her house. Slowing his pace as he approached the address, he regarded the cracks in the sidewalk and long evening shadows as ominous, telling him to turn back now while he still had the chance.

    He arrived and looked up. It really was another world up there, in her nest. She had a theatrical bent and had made it quite the haven - the sheerness of the curtains ("like stockings" she teased) the pale salmon walls glowing, making everything, her, look so warm, inviting, fresh. Her laugh was so ready and resonant.

    Unencumbered. That was the best word to describe her, and how he felt when he was with her. That was the power of it.

    He was already 10 minutes late and knew she was waiting. He felt as he always did on the approach - light headed, almost nauseous, his heart threatening to jump out of his chest. Clearing his throat, he focused momentarily on his breathing, loosened his tie and counted 10 steps to the door.

    10 - the number of years he'd been married, the number of months his daughter had been alive on the planet, the minutes he was late. And now, the exact number of steps to her door.

    Oh, the irony.

    This is the last time, he reminded himself. I've just got to get through this is one last time.
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