I walk to the kitchen first and take the lighter off the counter. The pot is full of water, the beans have been soaking. I meant to do this yesterday. Genevieve is silent, grown patient in the cold,  or at least I project that. She isn’t begging for food. She remembers when I used to wake up at four pm. Loyal, she would mimic my posture in bed next to me and all day long, for as long as I slept, she slept. Occasionally, she would swat me in the face without claws or lean over me, those big owl eyes staring into my clenched shut face. Sniff my breath for wine. Nuzzle next to me anyway. Today, she is thirteen years old, cold and the tether to Earth that keeps me breathing.
“I have so many beans.”
Ten bags of them actually. They are the thing neglected most in the cupboard. And prominent, the thing that comes in handy when someone who loves cooking enters my house, throws open the cupboards and the first thing they see are dozens of plastic bags full of little colored balls. They say, “oh, split pea, perfect, I’ll make the soup” and you are grateful hiding pizza boxes in the recycling and trying not to ask,
“Well, if it’s a real dinner, we should order dessert.”
Still shivering, I peer underneath the burner. Some of the water will go into our mugs. Clicking the switch of the candle lighter, I carefully move it closer to the center of the burner and I am comforted by the ignition, the sudden whoosh, the blue flame. The water boiling. The sounds of hurricanes in childhood.
“Well at least we have hot water,” my mom chirped through the house.
I loved the power outages, the candles, the way the sky was black and so was everything.  I would stare out the window, at the fallen branches, sometimes whole trees uprooted in my neighbor’s yard and the black. Waiting to go outside and pluck the worms from their emergence, chase the oil slick rainbows on concrete, compare damage on each block. Right before the hurricanes hit, my skin was electric. Right before a southern thunderstorm takes over, the night shades the day. The smell of petrichor, that sex smell, that musk I craved. I would watch streaks of light blaze the clouds like they had it out for them. Like vengeance. Like violence, stretching to show it’s width. I missed the smell of rain but right before this power outage hit, I burst into flames.
“Hello!?!?!”
This time they yell and knock on the window. I glide over the floor in my mismatched slipper socks, the ones with the padded footing. They are on the wrong way, one inside out and one is falling off the foot a little so it looks like an elf’s slipper but I am going for it. Today I will answer the door. Today I will look someone in the eye. Today I will say exactly what I need. Throwing the door open, I have rehearsed all yesterday,
“Thank God! I am almost out of food.”
It is two police officers and I immediately regret not just my choice of words, but my choice of outfit, location, occupation, history and opening the door.
“Hello officers.”
I am shaking like a caught deer.

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