13

The perfume spillage was deliberate, intended to disguise. I believed that. Nevertheless, I concealed my feelings. I decided that he could dissemble his true emotions first. My chosen vocabulary should be equivocal. I could use ambiguous language.

So, I expressed no opinion. Hence, I offered no commitment to a course of action. Rather, I recalled instructions verbatim. I had a purpose, and I reminded myself of that fact. I could not reveal that purpose, and I was concerned that I did not reveal that purpose, at least not yet.

I did not care, either, that he had become difficult to understand. He had become as obtuse as a mimeograph in the modern age. He had begun to behave erratically, waving his arms as if he were triumphantly acknowledging exultant crowds after a major sporting win.

The only factual matters were his drunkenness, his disorderliness, and his prior binge on champagne and whisky, his silly, pointless, foolish attitude, his selective self-abuse. His mess, his carelessness, the damage to his reputation, disgusted me, the self-inflicted punishment adopted in opposition to the possibility of reconciliation disappointed me, the sense that irregularity had won dismayed me.

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