The complaints are where I start bleeding out. My spiritual energy really takes a hit. I’ve only got two Omeprazole left. I expect to be up coughing tonight, but there’s a chance I won’t be snoring.

Slowly moving through my morning, I have nothing left to give. 

There’s always more, says the voice of my preceptor. We’ve still got time. 

E-cigarette in the apartment. I am outside of it. It’s for the best. I’m not supposed to use it anymore. I have insurance signups coming back around again, not to mention the fact that it burns my throat.

My coffee falls forward into the trash can. I go back and get my e-cigarette. You could call me strong, or you could call me weak for being at work today, though I know when I’m weak and when my writing is weak. What do you want me to say, sorry? Not to you. I’m not sorry to you. I’m sorry to myself more than anything.

I call this the chase, and I’m getting tired as I’m about to land one in the hole. The defenses are against me. What has this current been but a competition, the likes of which make an event, the outcome still unknown.

But I know the pieces fit. I’ve seen them fall away. Over and over. Always riding the brinks. Crashing and cresting, still obscure in my lack of absolute success.

Girls peeing, two by two, on the street, behind cars, in the Czech republic. Heavy streams and little trickles, running off the butt, soaking into their shoes, everybody either tip toe squatting or standing like a man, pulling at their clitorises, aiming for maximum distance and the least amount of blowback. 

Golden State approaches, complaining about the nightlife here, wishing that they could be playing LA.

Musette and I have to go to Lamaze.

It’s not Lamaze, Musette says. It’s a basic birthing class.

We’re seated next to soccer fans. Musette and I are wearing our Jazz shirts. The soccer fans are wearing shirts with the soccer team on them. We’ve got two pillows with us. They’ve got cases sewn by my mother in law. One has cartoon, personified sushi, and the other’s got cartoon, personified chips and dip. The dip is being chased by the chips. It looks miserable. 

The hospital feels like a church. The small hallway at the entrance shuffles us into a small elevator. The elevator takes us to a deserted floor. Biohazard boxes litter the hallway. Soft, soothing music plays from a room down the hall. The room is full of couples just like us, on their first child, pillows on their laps. 

The teacher tells the women to massage the men. I sit in front of Musette, and she rubs my sinuses and my chest. I am trying not to cough. The last thing I want to look is sick. I’d be seen as a pariah, an enemy. I shouldn’t have come. What was I thinking? But I couldn’t abandon my wife. I’m a good husband. A good father. 

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