Never be afraid to get dirty, but be sufficiently sure-footed to avoid the abyss of contamination.

A Change in Fortune – V

Ravi lay back on Maria’s couch and stared blankly at the ceiling, his arms crossed over his chest as his head rested against a blue pillow. The streetlight filtered through the blinds and streaked across his left cheek. Ravi reached for the pillow, pulled it back to his chest, and gave it a big squeeze as he squirmed upwards so that his head could rest against the couch’s left arm.

It would have to do. Seven days. He squeezed harder. What ever happened to thirty days notice? He squeezed harder. A no-lease loophole. He squeezed harder. He was asphyxiating the pillow. He released his tight grip and began running his palms and fingers up and down the pillow case. Such intimacy would be frowned upon in some circles. His mind wandered to Paco and then Jeff, neither of whom would be hugging pillows at the moment.

Jeff was right. The situation had to come to an end at some point. Why did he have to say it while the guests were arriving? And what was up with the insults? The snickering of the crowd resonated in his ears. He squeezed the pillow again. Maria was too nice to say anything, but he knew he was getting in the way. One week would be enough time.

Ravi heard footsteps and quickly released his inanimate cuddle buddy from their embrace. Maria tiptoed over to the sofa to see Ravi laying there, still in his khakis and blazer, with a pillow resting on his chest for some reason. Some questions are best left unanswered.

“Ravi,” she whispered. “I can check out that place with you tomorrow, if you like.”

Ravi looked up at Maria’s face, marked with its own lines from the streetlight. He smiled, taking the pillow and returning it back against his head.

“Come on, now,” she continued, smiling back. “Change out of those and get some rest.”

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