Mendoza is keeping his distance. He’s still outside a lot. He smiles at me. He watches me. But he doesn’t speak to me. When I have to walk by him on the steps, I pretend he is invisible. If I don’t see him on my way into the apartment, I look for him when I get there.
I have a new coming-home routine. I drop my keys on the stereo speaker--the place we always drop our keys, it’s just a few feet inside the door--then I reach down behind it and grab the knife I keep there. The pointy end sits in the groove, in the left corner. I want to be able to grab it without thinking. I check every room, behind doors, the closets, under the bed. Then I put the knife back and try to study.
Something wakes me up. I look at the clock. Little after midnight. I wait, breathe, try to identify what what I heard. It's hard to hear over the seashell sound in my ears. There’s movement outside my bedroom window. I sit up, then scooch closer to the edge of the bed. I put a foot on the floor, lean over, so I can look behind the curtain without moving it. Mendoza is standing outside my window.