My daughter just fell asleep on the couch, spread out, face down, draped loosely in the worn cotton of her Colin's undershirt, waiting for me to come down and read to her.

I could tell she slept by the silence.

There is violin music drifting from the laptop, the speakers at the end of the keyboard right where the computer rests against the bones of my hips, and there is a drifting feeling of tension in the back third of the top of my head.

The cat sleeps curled up, half on her side, tufts of white fur exposed to the open air, breathing softly.

J exhales from below me, on the couch. I can see her through the slats of the upper landing, as the tension in my head and the music makes me feel as though I am vaguely floating, as if I am little more than the top of my head and my eyes and the fingers that press gently buttons on the keyboard.

When Colin and I hung up, just before he stopped at the house of a defendant, I told him again, though I had said it just seconds before, "I love you so very much." I was afraid, in that breath, that he would die before I spoke to him again.

He is still not home.

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