The sight of her bare face filled him with fear. He collected her discarded masks. He held them up to her face. He begged her to wear them. They made her familiar, safe, maneuverable. He loved “her” past tense. Some part of him wanted her to remain past tense forever. The wounds in her heart were like the grooves in a record player. The song she sang was agonizing but at least he could follow the melody. He could listen to her for hours, for days, for centuries. He was ready to drown himself in her song. He wasn’t convinced that the healthy version of her would be content with such a limited repertoire. He sensed that she wanted more. He wanted to save her. In his own way. In his own time. He resented her in motion. He resented her when fallow. He loved her. He hated her. She was everything. She was fodder. He understood her. She was becoming a stranger.