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Here was the entrance to a safe and cozy catastrophe. She was a mouse in a bag in a warm house. She could chew her way out with her razor-sharp teeth. Outside was winter. What should the mouse do?

Evan was leaving for another continent but she chose to stay here. She would not pretend that she could have a do-over. This was not a hairstyle.

"You are my sunshine," he had sung to her.

She sang the next line back to him.

They couldn't mingle lives, though they could harmonize. His voice was a cello, he should've been a singer, instead of a journalist. She loved his voice; it was his soul she didn't love; and she didn't even believe in a soul. She wouldn't follow him to Europe.

He had sat on her tatty couch, the overhead light washing out his skin. He tapped his injured knee. "I may be your only chance."

His urgency frightened her.

His limp was worse that night. He hoped someone someday would discover a way to repair the damage. But she was not a surgeon. She wanted him to walk straight and even beside her, and she was ashamed of her shame.

New snow piled up around the basement and covered the dirty old snow, the twigs, dead leaves, dead creatures. It would melt, and spring would grow out. Surely there would be a spring. But what if there would not be?

She walked, straight and even, into that catastrophe.

Story by:

Cezarija Abartis

10 March 2014