The voice, gruff and staticky, asked him the same questions as the night before and in answering them he had a moment of hesitation, a flittering thought of Daneen that reminded him of the way sunlight stung through rustling leaves when you looked up, into and through shade. He didn’t think of her much anymore; she’d been gone since Kaily was eighteen months and Alec had just started to use the potty by himself. His chest felt empty as he answered that he was still interested in the work, whatever it was, and that he agreed that he was willing to accept half payment at the start and the rest once he was done. The voice gave another location and then told him to take the phone with him and call once Simon received the tools, money and instruction there. The line went dead abruptly.
Simon drove to the next location with a lump in his chest, an uneasiness that moved from above his heart and into his throat like a carpenter level bubble. He was uneven. He thought about Daneen again, the last time he saw her as she grinned through the car window before backing out of the driveway. Simon couldn’t remember if he kissed her that day like he usually did. Even then routine ate away at memory, repetition a cancer to the awake mind. He shrugged her grin and bright eyes away as the thoughts inevitably turned sour every time, her lips sutured together in his final view of her at her wake through his tear-blurred eyes. Senselessly gone, a light stolen the way starlight was by the future. She felt light-years away now and glimmered at him from the past like an echo he hardly believed was ever real.
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