“You mean the apartment or the city?” There was a commercial break on the Big Brother season opener, and I watched him study the frame that he was putting back together.
“Yeah, I know. I’m gonna miss the people I work with here a lot more, though.” I said as I unpaused the TiVo to see if it had caught up with the commercials.
“What? You don’t miss Katy Rothecker?” He did his patented impression of my alcoholic former boss in New York, and I laughed. Just as I fast-forwarded to Big Brother’s new segment, he started to loudly bang the frame with a small hammer which made it difficult to hear.
“Stop it! I have to hear every word!”
Billy rolled his eyes at me, making mock hammer movements. He kept working then held up the results directly in front of my eyes, obliterating any view I had of the Head of Household competition. I looked at his handiwork, not seeing a single improvement, and said, “What? I can’t see the TV!”
“Here!” He pointed to the bottom left corner. I squinted and saw that he had engraved the tiniest happy face I’d ever seen.
“That’s cute, honey.” I wanted to watch the ending of Big Brother. I wanted him to put away his toys and tools for the night. He looked at his frame, beamed a little, and put it away in the closet, a place that’s become the dumping ground for anything he happens across on the street.
After the show, we moved into the bedroom, and watched Howard Stern until I felt him slip away into sleep. I shook him a little, and kissed his cheek goodnight.
“I hope the back house is okay.” He said for no apparent reason as he faced the window where rain beaded up from the midnight storm.
“It’s going to be just fine.” I drew him closer to me, spooning, and kissed the nape of his neck where the heart-shaped childhood scar meets his hairline. I wondered where and when he got that scar because I couldn’t remember. I was about to ask him when I breathed in and knew that he wasn’t there to ask.