>It starts—or at least I choose to start it—as I’m going up some stairs, into her room. She lives in the attic, up through a tiny hatch. Stairs small and steep, not for her tiny feet, but my shoes take two edges at a time. A room swung on hooks, her clothes closing in. This week it’s pleated skirts, her thing, her theme. Four different sorts, layered one behind the other, a sliding scale in grey.

This girl, I must explain, can make me dance deep with my enemies. She punches right through me, and I cannot get enough. It’s the first time she’s let me up here, this secret place she exists. I’m dressed in my best clothes, rugged up for the expected cold, somehow feeling stuffy and stupid now. She kicks back, more casual than I’ve ever seen her. Jeans and singlet. Her never-previous let’s-stay-in look. She’s taking me apart. Piece by tiny piece.


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