Vincenzo is back, in pants, shoes and a shirt. But no tie, and his suspenders are hanging around his knees. Well, it’s his place.
“Can you make it?” I ask.
“Yeah,” he says. He pulls the flat leather bag out from under the bookshelf and goes into the corridor. I’d go with him; but we’ll both be better off if I don’t. I find the love seat in the darkened office; it isn’t cold, but it isn’t warm either.
I relax on the love seat, and a dark tide of misery floods my soul. You don’t die from withdrawal, but you really want to. I lean across the too-short couch and rest my head on the far armrest. My body shudders and gasps, while I go on stacking infinite jars and cans on infinite shelves.
Dimly I hear something, a step. A searing light snaps on. It’s Maryanne, in another terrycloth robe.
“Mr. Fabrizio, what’s wrong?” She gets on her knees. Her robe sways out innocently as she feels my forehead. Then she unbuttons my left sleeve.
“You’re a goddam junkie, Emelio,” she marvels. And smiles.