Andrew played guitar and sang, and Katie sang. People clapped. Later, they kissed in a stairwell.

One year later, they stood in a pumpkin patch. Katie’s hair moved. Andrew picked up a handful of dirt.

Two years later, Andrew sat on the bus waiting for Katie. She was late and the bus would be leaving soon, and he took the earphones from his ears and dialed her number.
―Where are you, he said.
―What, sorry, Katie said. ―I can’t really hear you, I’m walking very hard.
Andrew listened to Katie’s heavy breathing. ―I’m sorry, she said. ―Where is this bus?
―It’s at the place I said. It is outside the hotel. Come to the bus. You are late. Andrew touched his head and pushed back his hair. It was a little damp from the rain outside.
―Relax, I’ll be there soon. Andrew hung up the phone. Everyone was already on the bus. He waited a few minutes and dialed Katie’s number.
―Where are you, he said.
―I’m sorry. I got lost. I’m here now, I can see you. Andrew looked out the window and saw Katie. She held an umbrella. She showed a ticket to the bus driver. She sat down next to Andrew.
―Hi, he said. Andrew put his earphones back in his ears. He listened to “Soma” by The Smashing Pumpkins.
Katie said some things to Andrew. Her hair was wet and stuck together. They kissed. Soon Katie was asleep and Andrew did things on his laptop.

The bus let them off in Framingham. Andrew called a cab and Katie messed with her eyes with her fists. ―I’m so happy we’re here.
            ―I don’t know, Andrew said. ―I don’t feel happy.
―This will be a good weekend, Katie said.
            ―We have to wake up early tomorrow.
            ―Yeah, I know. We’ll go to bed when we get home.
            In the cab, Andrew held Katie loosely as they moved along Route 9. Andrew and Katie took bills out of their wallets and gave them to the cab driver.
            Andrew took keys out of his pocket. In the house he petted the dog and looked in the refrigerator. He poured two glasses of Arizona Green Tea with Honey and Ginseng. He brought them into the living room and turned on the television. Katie was petting the dog, holding its face. She sat down next to Andrew. They removed their coats and shoes. They watched one episode of The Office.
            Upstairs they lay in bed. Andrew said, ―I need to sleep but I don’t feel tired.
Katie petted his head and kissed him. Andrew took two NyQuil. He said, ―I’ll be tired and fall asleep soon. Katie touched Andrew’s chest and kissed him. He kissed her back.
            Later, Andrew said, ―It’s late now.
            ―Yeah, Katie said.
―You seduced me.
            Katie got close to Andrew and held him tightly. ―Yeah, she said. ―A little bit. Andrew couldn’t see Katie because of the dark but he felt like she was smiling.
            ―Goodnight, he said and kissed her. He turned onto his side and closed his eyes.
            ―Goodnight, Andrew, Katie said.
            Later, while asleep, Andrew turned and held Katie for a few hours.

They woke up to an alarm at seven. Katie took a pill and Andrew went downstairs and drank water. He went back upstairs and showered. In the shower, Andrew cleaned his asshole carefully. He shivered in the bathroom and moved back to the bed. Katie was asleep again. Andrew looked at her for a second and then touched her a little bit and then shook her lightly. He touched her on the face a few times. ―We’re going to be late, he said.
            ―No, she said.
            ―No, but really. He went downstairs and drank a glass of Arizona Green Tea with Honey and Ginseng.
            Andrew drove the car on Route 9 and Katie sat in the passenger’s seat. They listened to talk radio on a low volume setting. ―I’m scared, Andrew said.
―It will be over soon. You’re just going to talk I think.
―Oh, Andrew said. ―I don’t know. He pulled into a parking lot and paid two dollars to a man in a hat. It was raining and they ran from the car to the office. Andrew looked at a list of names. ―Two-oh-one, he said. They walked up some stairs and entered a reception area. Andrew wrote his name on a list. He handed an insurance card to a woman in scrubs, and she handed him some papers to fill out.
            ―Don’t fill out this or this or this, she said, pointing to some parts of the papers. Andrew sat down with a pen and a clipboard. He wrote on the papers.
            ―What does this mean, he said, pointing to a word.
            ―I don’t know, Katie said. An old man and an old woman walked slowly into the room and sat across from Andrew and Katie. They wore big sneakers.

In the examination room, a woman walked in and looked at Andrew. She took his temperature and blood pressure and walked out. Minutes passed. Another woman walked in and asked Andrew some questions about the papers. ―Dr. Lehman will be in soon. He will do a brief external exam and then an internal exam and then use a scope.
            ―Okay, Andrew said. Then a man was beside him and shook hands with Andrew.
            ―I’m Dr. Lehman, he said. ―It’s nice to meet you, Andrew.
            ―So you’re just going to strip from the waist down and put this sheet over your lap and I’ll be back in a minute to do the exam, okay?
            ―Okay, Andrew said. ―Wait, he said. ―Is there some kind of scope? Is that going to take long?
―I don’t know about that. Dr. Lehman walked out of the room. Andrew took off his pants and his underwear and his sweatshirt. He sat on the exam table and put the sheet over his lap. Dr. Lehman was in the room again. Andrew lay down on his side and Dr. Lehman talked. He touched the outside parts of Andrew’s asshole. ―You’re going to feel some gel, he said and inserted a finger entirely in Andrew’s rectum. ―Just relax. Take a deep breath, he said. Andrew made a noise. Later, they set a date for a colonoscopy.

―I’m happy he was Jewish, Andrew said in car. ―I always feel more comfortable with Jewish doctors.
            ―What did he look like?
            ―He had black hair and was balding, Andrew gripped the wheel. ―I can’t stop clenching my ass cheeks.
They passed his favorite burrito place. The place he’d driven out of his way for, growing up. Katie said, ―You probably shouldn’t eat there anymore. It had stopped raining.

Katie slept under the covers and Andrew sat up in bed. He rested his laptop on his knees and looked at the Internet. He listened to “Will Never Marry” by Morrissey and “There Is a Light That Never Goes Out” by The Smiths. ―Morrissey, Andrew said. ―Morrissey, Morrissey, and put his laptop on the floor. He lay down and turned on his side and held Katie, moving his hands under her t-shirt and touching her stomach. He shook her slightly. Then more. ―Get up, he said.
            Katie moved her legs around. She touched her face. She pulled on the blanket. ―Why?.
            ―You’ve been asleep for an hour.
            Andrew got out of the bed and stood. He walked to the window and looked outside. Trees’ leaves had changed colors and moved in the air. A bird stood in the grass, also moving, pushing its head against the ground periodically. Andrew walked to the bathroom and wiped his ass. He walked back to the bedroom. ―There is a lot of gel in my asshole still.
―Oh, Katie said. ―Shower, I guess?
            ―I already showered today. I’m just trying to, like, get out all the gel.
            ―What do you want to do today, Katie said.

Andrew and Katie sat in a booth at a Chinese food restaurant drinking water. A Chinese man came over and refilled their water glasses often. Andrew ordered two wonton soups, an order of Peking ravioli, an eggroll, a spring roll, an order of crab rangoon, vegetable lo mein, General Tso’s chicken, sizzling shrimp and vegetables, and one half of a Peking duck. They waited for their food. Katie’s face didn’t move a lot. Andrew said, ―Are you going to vote?
            ―What, Katie said. ―No. Are you?
            ―No, Andrew said. ―Voting seems so bad. I don’t want to vote unless I feel like I will be personally represented.
            ―I just don’t think it makes sense to vote in this election. I feel unconvinced.
            ―Politics are about capitalism. I feel unconvinced of the Democrats. They seem the same as Republicans.
            ―The Republicans want small government.
            ―I want no government. I’m a Republican. No wait, I want huge government. I want the government to control everything. Like Finland. They all seem really happy. They bike around a lot and the government pays for everything. They all have houses and cars and net worths.
            ―Socialism, Katie said. ―You really want that?
            ―Yeah, I want it… Or maybe like, fascism. Just control all the people and tell them what to do. Then I couldn’t complain. They’d kill me if I complained. The military government would tap my phone and stuff and kill me.
            ―That would be scary.
            ―It seems easier. The soup and appetizers came. They ate a little. Andrew stopped eating. ―Like, we have freedom of speech and stuff but who cares about freedom of speech if you can’t do anything with it.
            ―You could vote, I guess, for the person who you think will do less damage and will be more progressive toward your ideals in the long run.
            ―Everyone’s in it for themselves. If I could be rich I’d take the money. Give me the money. Fuck the common man. Like, I feel bored of the world.
            Some children were talking very loudly in a booth nearby. One spilled duck sauce on her father’s coat. He said, ―We’re going, in a loud voice.
            ―What would you want out of the world, Katie said.
            ―I don’t know. Excitement? Violence? I don’t want to feel safe and okay all the time, it’s so the same everyday… Just kidding, though, I guess. I’m anti-violence. I can’t insist how anti-violence I am. It is the only thing I am maybe.
            ―This isn’t even the presidential election, Katie said.
            ―I know, Andrew said.
            ―What about Iceland?
            ―They seem chill.
            ―Their economy has collapsed and everyone is fucked now.
            ―Yeah, but they are all in it together, Andrew said. ―They are all really pretty much equally fucked together.

Andrew drove the car on Interstate 90 and Katie sat in the passenger’s seat. They listened to the album Kiss Me, Kiss Me, Kiss Me by The Cure. It was raining. Andrew rubbed his eyes with his knuckles. He said, ―I always forget how hard you have to focus when you drive. He drove to Exit 18. He followed the road and made a large long turn in a circle, skidding a little on the wet pavement, and continued along Cambridge St. He turned onto Pratt St. and looked for a number. He pulled into a driveway and Katie pointed at a window in the house. ―Oh, Andrew said, and turned off the car. Dennis was at the door, waiting for them and Monica was inside behind him. ―What’s up, Andrew said.
            ―Hey man, hey man, what’s up, Dennis said.
―Andrew, Monica said in an excited voice. They stepped inside the house. Monica hugged first Andrew, then Katie. Andrew looked around the house.
            ―This is a nice house, Monica, Andrew said.
            ―Yeah, isn’t it beautiful. It’s the best. Come see my room. I knew you guys would love it. Andrew and Katie looked at each other. They followed Monica.
            ―You have two beds, Katie said.
―No, silly. That one’s Alana’s.
            ―Oh, Katie said. ―How many people live here?
            ―Um… Eight I think. Including me.
            ―Do you want a beer, said Dennis.
            ―Sure, said Andrew.
            ―Can I have one, said Katie.
            ―No, said Dennis, handing Andrew a can of a brand of pilsner he had never seen before. Andrew opened the beer and took a few sips. He handed the can to Katie and sat down on Monica’s bed. Katie opened a few drawers in the room. She closed them and moved around and sat on the bed next to Andrew. He picked up a ukulele and played some chords.
            ―I’m in a sentimental independent movie from two thousand five, Andrew said. Monica put on some music.
            ―What is this shit, Dennis said.
            ―It’s Baths, Monica said. ―Just listen, you’ll like them.
            ―Baths sucks, Andrew said.

Andrew, Katie, Dennis and Monica stood in a house a few houses away from Monica’s house. Dennis handed someone a dollar and moved farther into the house. The person said, ―Do you have a donation?
            ―What, Andrew said. ―Dennis, I have to give money? Dennis turned around and looked at Andrew.
            ―Just, it would be appreciated if you had some, the person said. Andrew held out a dollar. His shoes were wet. Katie and Monica handed the person a dollar. Dennis was standing watching a different person play guitar and sing in a weird voice.
            ―This sucks, Andrew said.
            ―I know, Katie said. She laughed and they sat down on a couch in the back. People were drinking Colt 45 and Coors Banquet. A lot of people were wearing plaid. Andrew was wearing plaid. Another couple sat on a different couch in the back and Andrew looked at them.
            ―Look at those people, he said. He took roasted pumpkin seeds out of his pocket and ate some. ―This guy is ripping off a folk singer.
            ―I can’t remember. Later, Andrew said, ―Paleo. He sounds like Paleo. Remember Paleo? Nobody remembered Paleo. ―He used to record a song a day, Andrew said. The person stopped singing and playing guitar and the people in the room moved around. Andrew looked at a girl who looked like Katie. He watched the girl talk to some people who looked older than Andrew looked. He looked at Katie. Katie stood up and moved to Monica, and Dennis sat down next to Andrew on the couch. Dennis was obese and took up more than two thirds of the small loveseat. Andrew sat, pushed against the side of the couch by Dennis’s legs and body. Andrew stood up and moved to the other couch. He waved to Katie. Katie waved back and motioned for Andrew to come over. Andrew moved around on the couch and looked behind it. There were many shitty things behind the couch. Everyone in the room moved to the basement. In the basement a band was setting up and messing around with knobs. Andrew said, ―Ambient. We are an ambient band. The band started playing. Andrew looked at Katie and Monica and then Katie again.
Katie said, ―This sucks.
            ―Yeah, Dennis said.

Andrew, Katie, and Monica sat on a couch in Dennis’s apartment. Dennis sat on his bed, smoking a cigarette, then a joint, then a bowl. He passed the bowl to Andrew and Andrew shook his head. He held a guitar. Andrew drank half a beer and handed it to Katie. He put his arm around Katie. He passed the guitar to Monica. Monica played “Blackbird” by The Beatles many times in a row before Dennis said, ―Stop, that is fucking annoying. Stop.
            ―It’s the only song I can play on guitar, Monica said. Dennis took the guitar from Monica. He held it and played some chords poorly and then put it down.
            ―Sweet guitar, Andrew said. They listened to “Tony’s Theme” by The Pixies. ―Are you one of those people who likes Surfer Rosa more than Doolittle, Andrew said.

In the car Andrew and Katie listened to the album Bright Flight by Silver Jews. They moved quickly on Interstate 90, then slowly, then stopped. ―Fuck, Andrew said. ―Fucking who the fuck does construction on a Friday night?
            ―It doesn’t matter, just relax.
            ―Fucking retarded piece of shit city. The world. Fuck, Andrew said and turned off the music. Katie made a face and looked out the window at the pavement. The pavement was wet. They sat in the car, which moved forward sometimes very slowly.
            ―Can I turn the music back on, she said.

Later, Andrew said, ―I want this overpass to fall on the car right now and kill me. That is really what I want.

Andrew and Katie lay in bed.
            The next morning Andrew woke up. Katie was asleep. He went to the bathroom and then downstairs and let the dog out. It was sunny and cold and Andrew watched the leaves move around. He drank Arizona Green Tea with Honey and Ginseng and turned on the television. He watched a newscaster speak. Andrew went outside and put the dog on the porch. He walked upstairs and went into the bedroom and lay in the bed. He held Katie and kissed her. She moved around. Andrew opened his laptop and listened to some songs by Morrissey. He watched an episode of 30 Rock on the laptop. Katie woke up. She opened her arms and made a noise. Andrew held her. It was the afternoon.
            Later, Katie said, ―Do you still want to go apple picking?
            ―Yes. He showered. He read things on the internet while Katie was in the shower and when she came out, Andrew hugged her. He grabbed her ass cheeks and Katie laughed and moved away.
            They drove to the farm. Not many cars were on the road and Andrew made the winding turns without thinking a lot about them. At the farm Andrew bought a small bottle of apple cider. ―This is good, Andrew said. ―Do they add alcohol to cider to make it hard cider or do they just let it ferment?
            ―I’m pretty sure they just let it ferment, Katie said. ―They might add yeast to it to speed up the process though. Andrew nodded his head and drank the cider. It was cold and windy. Andrew wore a fleece.
            ―I wish I had gloves. I didn’t know it was this cold.
            ―Yeah. Katie was wearing a windbreaker. Her cheeks were red. Her hair was wet and stuck to her face. They walked toward the orchard. ―There is a sign for pumpkin picking, but there isn’t a sign for apple picking, she said.
            ―It wouldn’t be closed, right? There should still be apples. It’s early.
            ―Yeah, I think, yeah. Andrew walked up to a person standing next to a tractor. ―Where is the apple picking, he said.
            ―It’s over, the person said. ―It ended last weekend.
            ―That is early, right, Andrew said. ―Like it usually doesn’t end this early, right?
            ―Everything came in early this year.
            Andrew looked at Katie. He put his hands up in the air and made a face. Katie shrugged. They walked back toward the car. The wind blew Andrew’s hat off of his head and he ran to get it.
            In the car, Andrew said, ―It’s too cold to pick apples today anyway.
―It’s okay, let’s go buy some apples instead, Katie said. Andrew parked the car outside a different farm on a different road at the bottom of a long hill. They went inside the farm store. Andrew and Katie bought twenty apples, apple cider, chips fried in avocado oil, and salsa.
In the car, Andrew said, ―These chips taste like avocados.
            ―Really, Katie said.
            ―No. The car moved on the road. ―There is a place around here that sells good beef, he said. The car moved into a parking lot. ―Do you have grass-fed beef here, Andrew said.
            ―No, said a person behind the counter. ―It’s too expensive to maintain and nobody cares.
            ―Oh, said Andrew. He pointed at the counter. ―Which of these are the best?

Andrew cooked the steaks on the grill and Katie sauteed mushrooms and made a potato salad. They sat at the table together and drank wine.
            ―I’m so sick of Oprah, Andrew said.
            ―Oprah, Katie said. ―Is Oprah still on TV?
            ―Oprah was supposed to be off TV by now, Andrew said. ―She’s never going to be off TV, she’s just planning more TV. He cut his steak and put a piece in his mouth, chewing slowly.
            ―Oprah is full of shit, Katie said.
            ―I don’t even believe she reads the books on her book list.
            ―She probably just reads her magazine. Oprah magazine.
            ―Oprah doesn’t have time to read. She is too busy creating products and ideas to be consumed by poor people.
            ―She does some good for the world, though. Oprah is full of shit, but she helps people. She donates a lot of money.
            ―Oprah walked up to someone’s house in California and offered them fifty million dollars to sell on the spot and move out.
            ―Oprah gave people free Pontiacs.
            ―Oprah is the face of evil, Andrew said. They ate quietly, taking big bites and drinking the wine.
            Later, Katie said, ―I’m liking these steaks.

Andrew drove the car on Route 9 and Katie sat in the passenger’s seat. The album Unknown Pleasures by Joy Division was playing. ―We’ll only stay for a little while, Katie said. ―Thanks for coming with me.
―Yeah. Andrew drove to Florence St. and parked by a sidewalk. The car jerked and made a noise. Andrew and Katie looked at the tire by the sidewalk. ―It looks okay, Andrew said and kicked it.
            ―It’s okay. Tires are really loud when they pop. It was dark and quiet. Nobody was outside. They walked toward a tree and Andrew quickly grabbed Katie from behind. She held a cell phone to her face and spoke. Soon Rebecca was visible and moved toward them, making noise and hugging first Katie, then Andrew. ―Hi, Katie said in a funny voice.
            ―Hi, Rebecca said. ―I missed you. She drew out the words and used a funny voice similar to Katie’s.
            ―Hi Rebecca, Andrew said. ―How are you?
            ―Good, good, come inside, she said. They walked from Florence St. alongside Clark University’s campus. They entered a building and climbed three flights of stairs. Inside Rebecca’s apartment, there were women talking and doing things. They sat on her bed. Rebecca said, ―I cut my bangs today.
            ―I know, Katie said. ―They’re cute.
            ―Do they look bad, Rebecca said.
            ―They look good, Andrew said.
            ―I look like a five-year-old version of an Olsen twin.
―Which one, Katie said.
            ―Mary-Kate, I think, Rebecca said.
            ―How can you tell the difference, Andrew said.
            ―Ashley is taller and has different eyes.
            ―I think I had a crush on Ashley when I was a kid.
            ―Aren’t they identical, Andrew said. They went on the Internet and looked at pictures of the Olsen twins. They read some articles about the Olsen twins. Many sources said they were fraternal. They all lay on Rebecca’s bed.
            Rebecca said, ―Last night I had sex with a boy and when we were finished I realized he was still wearing his shoes.

Rebecca drank clear rum from a water bottle and got changed many times into different clothes. She wore a blue dress, then a black shirt, then a white shirt, then a skirt, then jeans. Andrew and Katie sat in a room with some people who were friends with Rebecca. One person said, ―I saw Belle and Sebastian last night.
            ―Were they good?
            ―They were amazing. I cried.
            ―Did they play a lot of new stuff?
            ―They played some stuff from the new album, but mostly old stuff. I really love their early stuff.
Later, they stood by a statue of Sigmund Freud and Rebecca kissed it. Andrew stood on the statue and then got down. ―It’s cold, he said. They walked to a building.
―How’s Anne, Katie said.
I saw her once this summer, Rebecca said. ―She’s been really out of it. She tried to count to one million one last year and wouldn’t talk to anyone. She locked herself in her room and tried to do it, but if she got interrupted she had to start over. I guess she had a nervous breakdown and woke up in a hospital with an IV in her arm.
―Oh my god.
―Also, yeah, I guess she was trying to do that because she was sexually assaulted by some guy. She blacked out and when she came to, he was trying to open her legs.
They walked up three flights of stairs and Rebecca knocked on a door. Hannah opened the door and hugged first Katie, then Rebecca. There were many people in the room and Hannah said words to the people. Soon they sat on Hannah’s bed. ―Now we can have group sex, Rebecca said. Hannah made a face and walked to another room. Rebecca drank clear rum from a water bottle.
Later, in the car, Andrew and Katie listened to Morrissey.

Andrew and Katie sat on the couch, and Andrew used the remote to change channels on the television. They watched “Halloween’s Most Extreme” on the Travel Channel. The television showed a hayride attraction with actors and animatronics. It showed a store called the Halloween Outlet. ―I used to go there. Andrew said. ―It’s not far from the hospital. I got a clown mask there.
            ―It seems funny, Katie said.
            ―I didn’t know it was a big deal. I used to beg my dad to go there. The mask was forty dollars. The television showed a roller coaster inside a building and many actors putting on makeup and fake blood. Andrew felt something hurt in his head. He said nothing and sat motionless for few seconds. Then Andrew touched the right side of his forehead and said, ―Something popped in my head. My head hurts a lot.
            ―What are you talking about? Katie made a face.
            ―My head hurts a lot. I don’t know what happened. I can’t see straight.
            ―What is happening?
            ―It feels like something popped right on the inside of my skull.
            ―Are you okay?
            ―I don’t know, Andrew said. ―I feel dizzy. He felt his chest pressing against his shirt.
            ―I don’t think anything happened, Katie said. ―You would be like passed out by now or something.
            He held the right side his forehead with his hands. ―I don’t know.
            Katie took his hands. ―Do this, she said and touched each of her fingers to her thumbs in sequential order very quickly. Andrew mimicked her. Then she touched her forefinger to her nose many times quickly and Andrew did the same. ―You’re okay, Katie said. ―You’re having a panic attack.
They walked upstairs and sat on the bed. Andrew opened his laptop. He typed things and put in down on the bed. The laptop showed the movie Evil Dead. Andrew and Katie lay down. ―I’m sorry, Andrew said. ―I feel weird.
            ―How are you physically?
            ―I think my vision is weird, but I can see out of both eyes. I don’t know. I’m sorry. I don’t know why that happened. I keep replaying the feeling in my head. When it happened I thought what just happened, am I okay, did my brain just pop, and then it started to hurt.
            ―It’s okay, Katie said. Andrew and Katie watched the movie and Andrew fell asleep a few times.
―Join us, Andrew’s laptop said loudly, and Andrew woke up.

In the morning Andrew and Katie woke up around the same time. ―How are you, Katie said.
            ―I feel fine, he said. ―Normal. They walked downstairs and Andrew let the dog outside. He walked to the bathroom and looked in the mirror. He touched some things on his face and walked out of the bathroom. Katie was sitting on the couch and he kissed her on the forehead.
―I’m really happy we’re here, Katie said.
―I’m happy too, Andrew said. A few minutes later he said, ―I’m liking those steaks… Like, as a memory. He walked to the refrigerator and poured a glass of Arizona Green Tea with Honey and Ginseng. He drank it, then a second glass. He walked outside onto the porch. The sky was clear. It was blue and white, and the air was warm. Andrew stretched and watched the dog run around in the backyard. Andrew rubbed his eyes and looked at the trees. The leaves were falling out of the trees. Andrew saw a tennis ball on the ground and picked it up. He bounced it a few times and looked at the dog. Andrew threw the tennis ball and the dog retrieved it. They did this several times. Andrew walked from the porch to the patio to the grass, which was still wet.
Face down, he could hear the dog moving around him making breaths. He could hear the sounds of cars and the wind and insects around him. The phone rang, and he could hear Katie answer it and the sound of her voice in conversation. He could heard the door open and he could hear Katie step out onto the porch like she was going to say something.