New York City, December 9, 2013

★ The darkness made it possible to imagine that the week hadn’t really started yet, and crushing to realize that it had. It was raw outside, in the diminishing rain, and suffocatingly, claw-at-the-coat hot in the lobby of the preschool. Whether the rain had stopped seemed beside the point as the moisture hung in the air and dripped from the scaffolding. Drizzle was not falling so much as materializing in space all around. Brand-new copies of the Manhattan white pages, spilling out of their plastic wrapping, were soaking up the dampness by the curb, accompanied by wet flattened cartons.