>‘Dearest William’, it begins, ‘My deepest apologies for the fire. I lit it not as an act of malice or hatred towards you or those you hold dear, but rather as a sincere act of retribution on behalf of all you have done to hurt me.’ Lily sits back and stretches her back until it begins to hurt. Her chair is made of soft, flexible plastic, so that is gives pleasantly out under her weight, without any threat of breaking. She reaches for a bottle of electrolyte water and takes a deep gulp. The fan above her head takes lazy swings at the humid air. The heat in her apartment is like accidentally walking into a wetsuit. Outside, she knows, it is even worse.

She uses membrane-thin airmail paper on which to write her careful invective, pressing lightly with her ballpoint pen, letting weight come from the words, not the force of her hand. It is a kind of back-elbowed compliment, she thinks, the way the words flow from her head, so smoothly, but so itchily. She is the passive-aggressive poster girl. Still, her head feels like sand. Tub-thumps of the previous night’s drinking still make muted patterns in her thoughts. The unfortunate weight of anger’s momentum propels her forward, and blinds her to such unreasonable advisors as consequence and reason. She finishes her letter, and she mails it. I will receive it two days later. It will be a day I never forget.


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