They spoke, both shouting. Kerin pushed Robert, both palms on his chest. Robert hardly moved, his chest was dull. Robert shouted, Kerin can’t think he can do this, can’t think about coming like this here.

The lights weren’t bright enough, everything dark and faded in the corners, everything under saturated, no sound. Sound but a little off in the distance. He was operating from a different place. There was nowhere for him to go, he couldn’t pass he on the stairs, outside closed, and fishbowled. He was drunk in the hallway with no desire to stay or leave. This would change, it would fall apart, things would get calmer, people would sit down, he was fine with that.

He kept asking about some money that he had or that he was keeping somewhere, that he took, that he took and spent. He asked him about the money. And he’s repeatedly asking but the money’s never been brought up before and he didn’t ask when he came home. Whether or not money’s ever been a thing, whether he actually had any, or whether that plan to leave before restrictions was just a dream in public. Whether or not either of them felt good about their situation as seen from the other’s person’s point of view, if blaming someone is the same thing.

He could punch him out cold, he knew this. He knew he probably wouldn’t as well, and he would have to go out of his way to provoke him to do so. He knew he was spineless, that at that moment there wasn’t really anything to be afraid of, there are laws that make a happy life. Walking up that stairway he would sometimes imagine coming home and finding the house empty, knowing why. He was afraid and hated it and himself for it, for setting himself up in opposition to that thought and so a driving force in the pull of it. He was afraid that it would feel liberating. He imagined coming home and finding everything gone, no still people, the furniture gone, just the block colour of the walls. He would lock the doors, the curtains gone, he would lock the doors, and after so much time that he couldn’t imagine the scenes outside he would feel the sun slowly curve around the earth as the earth curled around the sun and he would be sat in the room, his back against a wall, in the light of the sun. He felt sad.

Nicola stood between them, stood by the wall. Her hands wrapped around each other around her stomach, she was looking down, she looked at Kerin.

Like he had no idea what he was talking about, whether it’s right for these things to be happening and whether they happen because of him or because of him. Are these things happening separately, whether or not they thought about each other. Whether these things make him happy.

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