Rémi laughs, and I meet his laugh with my own. I didn't even realize you had seen the poem, he says.
Why do you ask?
Your apartment, I say slowly, is an interesting place; and with that, a flash, a split-second grimace flies forward then back; the contortion of pain, of distaste.
My apartment, he says, then repeats it: my apartment.
He looks up and his eyes bore holes into mine, traces of a wince still lurking in the creases of his face. If you believe, he says soberly, that I will let you into my apartment again, you are sadly mistaken.
And when you are finished with the papers you took, he says, do be so courteous as to return them to me.
Then the alcohol flushes back into him, revives him, and he laughs; and I laugh, too, my laugh egging his laugh on with it; or maybe, this time, he is laughing at me; but more likely, he is laughing for me, instead of me, in place of me; laughing for me in my absence.