My life has become split into two halves, I say to Rémi, the pregnant silence having returned to greet us for the first time in months, the silence that flees when I open my mouth, runs away, abandons us, afraid of what it might hear if it kept our company for too long.

There is the time when I am with you, I say, and the time when I am not.

The words slur from my mouth.

Well, he asks, what do you do during the time when you are not?

Absolutely nothing, I say, and he laughs inappropriately, then stops when he realizes all he's hearing is himself.

I do nothing, I tell him. I sit and count down the hours until I stumble into this bar, or the last bar, or the next bar.

Anymore, I say, it is all I can do.