She walks home in the dark, eyes watering in air so frigid it nips at her nose and cheeks. She sniffles from the sheer cold and snuggles lower into her coat. She cherishes the pain in her toes and her fingers because it reminds her that she’s alive. When she turns the key to her apartment, a blast of warm air welcomes her into her own shoe box sized closet of safety. He was so kind, she thinks to herself. Kind. But bland. She’s back in her head. He offers a nice wine, he buys the dinner. She enjoys his slight pretentious nature. She cherishes the way his chin turns up just slightly when he swirls his glass of Arneis and gives an affirming nod to the Sommelier. She thinks he talks too much. He asks a question with the motive of answering it himself, pressed with the need to impress. She smiles like she’s been trained, and her mind is a whirlwind of analysis. She assumes he acts how he does because of his upbringing. She imagines his parents, a conservative duo with their only son a shining pride and joy in their life. She also imagines the tightness of the tie his father must be wearing. It’s tied to a perfect little knot by his little wife who keeps making his dinners and shining his shoes. And the clink of their glasses brings her back to the reality in front of her. He’s nice. Nice, but bland. There is nothing expressly wrong with him, though, so the wine brings her back to his apartment and up the five-flight walk-up and into his bedroom. And the wine makes the thoughts in her head become words in her mouth and she’s simply got to say something. So she asks about his bed table books, and whether he liked Kafka, and he mumbles something about how they’re decorative, anyway, and as his clothes come off she thinks that his shirt jacket must have cost more than she pays for her apartment. So she slips off her dress. And he’s sweet, but inattentive and she thinks, well, he’s not bad. Not bad, but bland. So she puts on her gloves and her hat and she leaves him asleep in his room. And she sneaks down the stairs, and she waits for a bus, lights flashing from every direction in the bustle of the city that never sleeps. She watches the cars that zoom by in an effort get somewhere. Somewhere that must be more important than the corner on which she waits, for the same creaky bus that will take her to the same shoe-box sized place. The humble four walls she calls her home. And she thinks, this is safe. Safe, but bland.