The bathroom door opened quietly and she pretended to be asleep again, watching through a slit eye. He crept out and began looking around the bed, his figure moving gracefully in a sillouette. Stopping near to where she lay, he bent down and retrieved the briefs from the floor. She saw for a brief instant his hair fall to his eyes in the slow flutter of frail color-treated strands. She realized laying there that the sheet covered only the lower half of her, and suddenly felt exposed... though not exposed in the sense that she was shamed, but the way she might feel if a young child caught her getting out of the shower. He stood there beside her for a moment, blocking the light from the window. She breathed deeply, letting her diaphragm raise her breasts up towards him, the nipples erect and belying the calm and heavy drowse she feigned with her body. She wondered if he were looking at her lying there. If perhaps he were thinking of waking her and playing with her again. She pictured herself lying in the strange bed, the sheets an almost-blue in the pale light, making her body appear white and marble. She pictured a glass case around her, invisibly hinged on one side and open to the night air streaming in through the window. She saw him reach over and softly shut the case, heard it click shut with a tiny metallic sound, and it was suddenly hard to breathe. Against her will, she opened her eyes wide with a breath, finding the room empty, and the bathroom dark again. She pulled the sheets up over her torso and listened dumbly as water began to run in the sink. She knew he would now ease the window open and quickly climb down the fire-escape and pad his sneakers off into the night.
She closed her eyes again as the faintly painted walls of the room seemed to be thrown back and she felt suddenly alone. She pictured him running off into the night, running off to find his bed were he would quickly sleep and dream of nothing. She thought of herself again laying there in the glass box, white against the sheets in the moonlight like a porcelain doll wrapped in tissue. She saw a doll then, the doll her mother had owned and wrapped in white and placed in the china cabinet to be looked at but never touched. The doll had always looked so lonely to her there in her glass cage, and many nights when everyone slept and the moonlight seeped in through the blinds, she had crept to the cabinet to take the doll down. And every night she was greeted with the same blank and perfect face. The same white skin, the same sad and tearless eyes.
She got up slowly and stiffly from the bed. She turned off the light in the bathroom, shut the window there and returned to the heavy sheets. She tucked them tightly around her then, feeling suddenly cold in the fading moonlight. Her eyes looked up and out, not focusing, not moving. She lay there motionless until the last ray of light had faded from the window, shrouding the room in darkness. There in the enveloping and solitary night, she passed into sleep unknowingly, dreaming of hands reaching out to grasp her, and falling slowly away.