Holding the cup in both hands, she blows upon it with a gentle breath. Through the window, a sharp breeze comes in uninvited, playing with the curls of her hair. Bopping up and down upon her slouched shoulders, the jangly movement resembles a puppet on a string. Ironic really, as she sees herself as a puppet on a string—the strings of some cruel god who enjoys nothing more than taking away all that she has ever loved. Shifting from one foot to the other as the lingering warmth of her orgasm floods her limbs in mysterious ways, she sticks her tongue into the hot coffee. It’s hot. Hot enough to make her wince, and yet like a cat, she laps it up with a grin on her face. Moving about as if in a slow dance, she slides her feet over the dusty tiles that cover the entire kitchen. Some of the tiles are cracked. Others are missing. She remembers the saying from her childhood about not stepping on the cracks in the pavement because you could hurt your mother. Picturing her own mother in a hospital bed wrapped head to toe in bandages with her arms and legs suspended by more of those celestial strings—her grin turns to a mischievous snarl as she drops to her knees. Clutching the cup with her left hand, with her right, she fingers the uneven lines that have grown between some of the once flawless tiles. She imagines them as they were brand new. When? The ‘70s? Perhaps earlier, judging by the dubious tones and floral designs that adorn them. Was it the man about the house who set them into place? Did his adoring wife watch from the doorway with a loving smile as her man created a home fit for the love she hoped would last a lifetime? Wherever this woman was now—whether it be a care home or heaven—she would no doubt be appalled that the place had become digs for job-shy students—and art students at that! And what would she have to say about the likes of Gretchen? Not waking until the afternoon, and then masturbating in the bathroom before she had even brushed her teeth? She’d be mortified, for sure.