Days began to run into one another. Commute, work, commute. Sometimes there were ramen dinners in Queens at the one apartment she found she could afford. Sometimes there were lectures from parents. Sometimes there were leftover bagels in the conference room and Avalon would save her powdered soup in the lower left drawer for the following day. Sometimes she drank a contraband grape soda in the ladies’ room, crouched over the toilet, gulping as the bubbles burned her nose.
Most times it was thudding across gray carpeting, hunching over a warm keyboard, straining by the florescent overhead, half-smiling at people who did not smile, half or otherwise, back. Suddenly, it was mid-September and kids had been at school for nearly a month, and Avalon, for the first time, was not.
Stewart insisted she purchase that new drug dealer video game, the one mothers condemned on the news, for his nephew, though Avalon took too long for such requests. The death of summer in the city was not something she had experienced before, not really. Outside the air swirled clean and clear. Days were sadly sun-drenched, shadows dappled across brick facades, branches bowed under the weight of beautiful afternoons. Moments outside became precious, pristine as the city cooled. She floated ethereal to the subway with the purchase and fought the unending urge to sprint, her skirt billowing behind, hair to the wind, to finish the line somewhere else. She breathed too hard, too often, inhaling too much, a guppy flopping by an overturned fishbowl, greedily consuming her freedom. When she returned, she placed the game on his desk, her cheeks flush, and Stewart asked what the hell was wrong with her. Avalon did not respond; she was afraid of what she might say.