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white on white.

“Will you ever furnish this place?”
Jake’s here. Jake’s visiting. He drops by once a week on average. To check on me.
I say, “I got what I need.”
Jake’s walking around, hands in his coat pockets. He’s taking his time.
He says, “This place is empty. It echoes!”
And he claps his hands three times. Clap, clap, clap! He has big hands.
And Jake says, “How many claps did you just hear?”
I open my eyes. I shut them because of the noise he made.
I say, “Three.”
Jake says, “I heard six. Or nine, even!”
He is in the middle of what I call my living room.
He says, “What an awesome loft you got here.”
I nod.
Jake adds, “You don’t miss decoration? Like pictures on the walls? Curtains? Rugs on the floor?”
Jake is my brother. That is to say, we share our parents. Not much more, though, I don’t think.
I say, “I got what I need.”
And Jake hollers, “Fucking echoes! You got this place full of fucking echoes! The place is fucking empty!” I drop to my knees, then fall flat on the floor. I’m boxing my ears. I want the noise to stop.
It’s not the echoes that reverberate in my head. I don’t even hear Jake yelling.
What I’m hearing is memories. Memories from before any sounds, any echoes—anything that might’ve left a mark or made a distinct noise.
I curl up on the hardwood floor. I try to occupy the smallest space possible.
And I wish I could explain to Jake how the echoes used to be here and how they have disappeared completely.
How they left nothing but white on white behind.


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