I haven't spoken to Rémi in a few days.

I watch from afar as he follows his schedule, line by pretty little line, detailed in my notepad: leaves his home just after 8, arrives at his office ninety-five minutes later, coffee in hand; it's Tuesday, thus, class until noon; then, lunch, I watch him unwrap and gobble down two, no, three sandwiches, then chug his thermos whole in one gulp, trickles of dark liquid slipping away from him and onto his shirt collar, which he doesn't notice, of course, but I do, hundreds of yards away, on the quad, through my binoculars; class again, this time a lecture, and I sit in the tenth row, hood drawn, sunglasses front and center, just a punk-ass trust-fund brat with a hangover, nothing to see here, but he wouldn't anyway, his eyes don't even make it past his lectern, and I listen to his unforgiving drawl wade through the material listlessly, the phrases and fragments of speech barely eked out, wafting over the first nine rows as a decimating cloud of disgust and apathy (and bourbon), while I shrink down further, immune, but only due to my contraction of the same strain; and afterward, he leaves, I tail him to the metro, ensure he jumps onto the green line train, after which I speed away in my car to his apartment to ensure I make it there before the train does.

I do.

Right on time, Rémi is, as am I; he murmurs something to the doorman, or at least, his mouth moves while his head tilts toward the doorman, I cannot determine from this distance, across the street, in my car, through my binoculars, but anyway, he enters, and tonight, he stays in, no bar, no rant, but even without the ability to peer into his home, I know he is drinking; drunk; damaged; and dying.