If We Were Having Coffee and Talking about Gloria …

If we were having coffee, you would ask me what I was thinking.

“Why would you have her in this house?” you would ask. “You never got along as children. And where will she sleep?”

“East of the kitchen,” I would say. “There are two bedrooms and a bathroom over there that I never use. Nobody has slept there since Mom died. We’ll share the kitchen–”

“Fight over the kitchen, more like,” you’d interrupt. And you’d be right.

But what you don’t know, what I am afraid to share, is that the move is not just for Gloria. It is convenient for me that she needs a place, since I need a roommate.

I still dream of Carlos. The nightmares are more real. Alone in the house, reality steals away like a tired old friend leaves a party. The memory room calls me, with its baby blankets, worn more by my rubbing than infant swaddling. Its photographs and soccer trophies. It even smells like Carlos.

You don’t know how muffins and pies keep me grounded. How I need someone to live for, someone alive, someone to chase away the ghosts.

As you left, I would thank you for the coffee. You had picked up lattes that made my cinnamon biscotti sing. You had admired the chili ristra hanging at the window.

You will leave. Cleanup can occupy me for so long, and I will have no interest in books or television. Before I have a chance to wander, to stray into the street or the memory room, Gloria will come home.

We will fight. She will complain about some minor thing, as if she owns the house.

I will fight back.

That, my friend, is what I was thinking.

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