Marie stands by the elevator door, waiting for me. She takes my hat and coat, my handbag, and lays them by the table. She hangs my coat up. She turns to me and says “I have not seen you in a long time.” She emphasizes “a long time.” I move my head, staring after her dumbly. My handbag is on the table, with my hat and gloves. She is hanging up my coat.
Marie is framed by the doorway so that part of her hair is cut off by the two-inch border of the doorway. It swings out of the frame and towards the bathroom. I see my hand reach out to touch her hair, which is of medium length, brown, and soft as Ivory Flakes. She makes no motion of recognition, still less of response. My hand is by my side, holding my coffee cup.