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I remember sneaking up to the attic when my parents slept with their door closed. I’d pull the bed out that the couch turned into and would flop, flipping from side to side, a king in his luxurious court, presiding over all of himself.

And then there was the time Philip came in and my flopping stopped. I’d been caught. Even the squirrels who would rustle back and forth on the roof throughout the night, they stopped too. He looked at me and said he was going out, that he wanted someone to know, just in case, he said. And I said to come home soon or Who cares what you do? I don’t remember which.

And I heard him creak down the stairs on all the ones I knew to avoid and felt the summer night creep in through the window as I heard his footsteps outside.

I was barely awake when he came back an hour later, smelling of lake water and the fullness of a lived summer night.

He came to say goodnight, but this time the crickets were louder than his steps. He sat next to me on the bed, dipping me toward his warm wet weight as the mattress creaked.

“I’ll have to show you stars sometime,” he said to me.

Here’s the thing though: I’ve always been much more cautious.

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