Last Updated on May 5, 2015, by eNotes Editorial. Word Count: 1243
When Lianne’s husband arrived at her door on that day, it did not seem possible, a man appearing whole out of an ash storm. He was carrying a briefcase and stood there, nodding slowly at her. He walked past her to the kitchen and sat. She called her doctor, the hospital, 911, but she heard nothing except the sound of overloaded lines. She offered him water; he said everyone tried to give him water. Lianne knows if he had suffered a serious injury he could not have walked all the way here, but there was so much blood. As she gently wiped his hands, face, and head, he told her there was a shirt coming down out of the sky. There was too much blood to be just his; most of it must have come from somewhere else.
Keith and Florence are sitting where they sat on the last visit. He tells her he was an athlete in college and then gave himself a year to try acting. After two months he started law school because he had no other place to go, no other thing to do. This is the second time he crossed the park to see her, and if they never talked it would not matter. Florence tells him of her visit to St. Paul’s yesterday. She sat and prayed but could not look at all the photographs of the missing. Her ex-husband died in a car accident about ten years ago, and she is convinced they should all learn to accept death as part of God’s plan; it is something that will eventually happen to all of them. Florence reminds him that the men who did this believed in God; Keith tells her he never thinks about God, and that frightens her.
They drink tea and talk, reliving that day at the tower and knowing to them it will never be boring or too detailed. They also talk of marriage and friendship and the future. Keith listens more than talks, but he is a willing listener. He finally says he has to leave, and Florence blames him for this and all other leavings she has experienced. He stays. She changes the music from a romantic movie soundtrack to something Portuguese and native. The instruments are pulsing and she beckons him to follow her to her bedroom. This is the disc that had been in the CD player he carried in her briefcase out of the tower. He tells her to dance, and she does. They are both moved by the sensuous rhythms and Keith undresses.
Rosellen, one of Lianne’s group members, is afraid of getting lost and never found. Benny has trouble getting his pants on some days; more accurately, he has trouble convincing himself they are on correctly. Omar is the only member of the group who lives out of the area, and he is overly confused by cards and turnstiles and missing stops on the subway. Curtis finally found his watch in the medicine cabinet, but he is unable to muster the coordination to put it on his wrist.
Keith kicks the door of the apartment on the second floor from which the Middle Eastern music emanates. He kicks it twice, not out of his own anger but because Lianne complains about it. The music does not stop, and the husband and wife look at one another and laugh, hard, as they exit the building.
The poker games at Keith’s had been intense and serious; the stakes were high and the check-writing by the losers at the end of the night was a ceremony. They played only a few versions of the game—no dealer’s choice for them—and then those options began to shrink. Hovanis, who is dead now, wanted to limit their choices. Fewer options made for higher stakes, and soon even getting up for food was forbidden in their games. Their alcohol consumption was limited to the “darkish liquors,” and soon the only game they played was five-card stud. Rumsey, who is dead now, wanted to revoke all their regulations. The intensity grew primarily from their self-imposed restrictions: no sports talk, television talk, or movie titles. Terry Cheng told them they were a ridiculous bunch—they...
(The entire section contains 1243 words.)
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