The blackness of sleep had a way of erasing last night’s feelings like no classroom pencil she had ever known. While she gathered her things, pulled her socks on underneath her jeans, slipped her bra into her purse, her blouse over her head, she remembered what the old man playing his one-string whiner in Chinatown had said: that she was proceeding through life like a cat without whiskers. Then she left.

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