An acute aloneness seized her. Well, she could probably ask Gordie.
Two days had passed since their awkward misunderstanding—which,
now that Talia had rubbed shoulders with death, seemed trivial. Still,
this was what her life had come to. She had always assumed she would
eventually find a companion for the long haul. Instead, here she was, on
And yet. A flickering at the edge of memory. “I think someone was
there. When I had the seizure.” A presence at her side as she lay on the
cold ground. A blanket being draped over her. “Do you know who called
The doctor shook her pretty head. But the EMTs, she assured Talia,
would have a report.
All the way home, Gordie kept asking for details of what had happened.
Though he rarely showed emotion, he was clearly upset—even more
than the other night.
“I’m telling you,” Talia said, conscious of the Lyft driver overhearing
every word, “all I know is I was jogging and next thing I was in the ambulance. Then I blacked out again.” She was aware that she was skipping
the part about the blanket carefully being placed over her, but that part
seemed suspiciously like a dream.
Gordie kept frowning, his deep-set eyes troubled beneath the swoop
of shiny dark bangs. “Superman hair,” Talia used to tease him, though
really it was his broad forehead and firm jaw that made it look like that.
She had to stop herself from reaching over to comfort him. Of the other
friends she might have asked to accompany her, Camilla was now the
embattled mother of two awful toddlers and Dani had caved to ever-rising rent and decamped to Providence. Of Talia’s series of negligent
boyfriends, her most recent lover, discarded a good six months ago, was
no one she wished to see now.
Gordie, though, was always around. He lived next door, in the same
row house as Talia; his workplace, some tech company run by twenty-
year-olds, was mere blocks away, in one of the old brick warehouses that
still housed an acrobatics school and marzipan factory and film studio
and hadn’t yet been bought up. He was seventeen years younger than
Talia and didn’t have many friends. Maxine downstairs called him “an
Twice Maxine had called Talia an “angry black woman”—but that
was another issue.