People were singing on the steps below our living room window, and Elena removed an earphone to tell them to stop.
“You’re singing very badly!” she shouted. “I’m going to throw water on you!”
A man yelled he was too hot anyway. When he said he would like to have water thrown on him, she smiled to herself, closed her eyes, and lay back down on the sofa.
“Careful,” I said. “They might break our window again.”
She said, “It wasn’t them.”
“I know,” I said. “Obviously. I meant ‘they’ in the general sense.”
She put her earphone back in.
I put down my pen, and watched her. I had done that, every now and then, since we were six years old—stopped what I was doing to figure out something about her, to think about her face, or her hair, or the way she always laughed when I talked about death. Mostly I thought about her face. I had done that so often, by now, that I was convinced she must know, and must sometimes arrange herself to give me a good view, to give me time to look, to give me time to think about her textures. I hated it when I saw her do it with other people.
The fan was only disturbing the tips of her hair at the end of her low ponytail—the top, a little greasy, was tight on her skull. She wore pajama shorts, and, as always, when she wore shorts or skirts, I got stuck on the blond hairs on her thighs. And then I moved up, and got stuck on her skin. Like wax. Like alive wax. Wax that would not melt.