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I am in Chicago, in dark tunnels. I'm meeting up with a girl I know from high school who I haven't seen in five years.

I wait for her in the street, in the snow. She barrels through the empty road, greets me with a hug. She is sweet and forceful, like chocolate with a sharp shot of liquor in the center. She swings my bags into the trunk of the car and drives fast.

She could be anyone, I think. She could be a crazy person. I only know her from high school, it's been so many years, it's been so many—

She shows me her apartment. It's old and someone downstairs is painting so it smells like turpentine. She shows me the crown molding, opens the windows even though it's January. She takes my bags from my shoulders and asks me where I want to sleep.

I watch her change the sheets on her bed, laying down a quilt, a comforter. She pours me a glass of water and places it on the overnight table. The perfect hostess.

The bathroom has high ceilings and a claw-footed bathtub. I could do this, I think. I could date a woman, move to an old apartment in Chicago, learn to navigate around hot iron radiators in the dark. I brush my teeth so hard my gums bleed. The tank top I have on is transparent and through it I can see my dark nipples, the curve of my breasts. My breasts are the only thing I like about me. Not just my body, me. I should diet. I can't diet, I'm a feminist. I should change my name. I should sleep for a very long time.

I walk back to the bedroom in the dark. After she falls asleep, she turns and flops her arm over my stomach.

I sleep. I do not dream. I don't want to be rude.

Award-winning author of 'In the Dream House' & 'Her Body and Other Parties'. Finalist for National Book Award. Essays in NYT, New Yorker & more.