Mona drifted over, like a just blown smoke ring, fading as she went. When she reached my couch, she collapsed onto it, though collapsing was too strong a word for the way she landed. Everything she did was much softer than that. I used to think she was too graceful for angular movement. Later, I thought her joints were built differently than mine. Now I just think she chose her wilting persona. It gets her where she wants to be.

“It’s the twenty-first century,” I said. “That fainting stuff is old school.”

“You never were very empathetic,” she said.

“Why are you here?” I asked.

“Nice to see you too.”

“Forgive me if I skip the pleasantries,” I said. “The last time I saw you, you were propositioning my husband.”

Mona waved away my concern with a languid motion. “I was just practicing.”

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