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  • I remember running up the stairs, ninety steps in thirty seconds, lightfooted, giddy. Going back down I always walked, slowly, heavy with thought, loaded with kisses, sore of regret.

    The music; the double bass, the piano, the drums, and the voice, your voice, impossibly deep, vibrant, warm, a voice that had lips and a tongue and hands and fingernails and stubble. The things you did to me with that voice. And those eyes, black, distant, rejecting me point-blank if I ventured too close.

    You taught me to smoke like a man, and I inhaled deeply, I swallowed everything you said, everything you offered, everything you forced on me. I didn't know. I had never. I was so young, a precocious schoolgirl, an unbroken filly.

    Yes, I was so young, so delightfully stupid and careless and alive, alive, every fibre of my body quivering, every nerve yours to play on. And you were reckless; you played me with your teeth, like Jimi Hendrix, and smashed me to smithereens, like Pete Townshend. Though I took revenge by setting fire to your Bösendorfer, like a raving mad Jerry Lee Lewis, and you never messed with me again.

    I heard you got sick. I saw an image of you recently; you had lost all your hair, but you were still handsome, in that brutish way. It's been years since I stopped missing you. Although I miss that stairway, the smooth banister, shiny black, and the white marble steps, yes, I still remember you in black-and-white, like ebony and ivory, like ash and snow, like a film noir. And I miss being that young, I miss being broken, I admit I sometimes miss the pain.
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