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a time and finally figured out he was home. He cupped his hands over his eyes and made his way to the bathroom where he delicately sprinkled water on his fractured face and washed the ashtray from his mouth with toothpaste and some Listerine which he almost swallowed because the rye whiskey shakes had taken over his spastic reflexes.

He was still dressed in the clothes he wore the night before, except for his shoes which someone had thoughtfully removed. He shuffled slowly to the kitchen in a trance, aware only of the painful effort it took to move. He made some instant coffee and sat down at the table, trying to focus his bloodshot eyes on a note braced between the salt and pepper shakers which was signed, "Mom." It wasn't until he was drinking his second cup of coffee that he could read it. His mother wrote that she had gotten a job in the personnel department of some company because, with his sister grown up, there was really nothing to keep her occupied around the house. And there was plenty of food in the fridge and his sister would be home from school around four thirty and she and his father would get back at about six that evening, "Love, Mom."

Kenny had three more cups of coffee and walked around the apartment. It was a comfortable place with green wallpaper in the carpeted foyer, which doubled as a dining room, and reupholstered furniture in the yellow and brown living room, with thick green drapes over the windows. His parents' bedroom was all white with a crucifix tacked to the wall, overlooking a woven, white, woolen bedspread. The French doors that had separated it from the living room had been removed, his mother told him, because they were warped and wouldn't close properly, and anyway, without them the living room had a more open feeling. His sister's room was also painted white and the three-quarter bed, like the rest of the furniture in her room, was new and made of light-colored wood. The furniture in his "own room" was also new and manufactured with the same wood by the same company in the same style. There was a desk, a dresser, a single bed and a row of waist-high bookcases along one of the blue walls. There was a red nagahide armchair below a reading lamp which gave the room the finishing touch of a study. The room had been designed for a young boy to do his high school homework in, or write his university term papers. Besides his sister's furniture, "his" was the only new furniture in the apartment, and it was obvious his parents bought it with the hope that their son would have returned a long time ago to continue his education--a fantasy the [end page 214]


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