Under the mask she smiles. The guests natter around her, crowding the apartment and making sounds like summer crickets. Their mingling measured, scene but not herd. Brazen gestures shade furtive glances under idle lighting hiding busy hands. Dust addled speakers push a slow Miles Davis around the room with the grace of potato mash through a tin colander. Dignity disguised, she moves to its strains, her dress flowing around her as she sways and twists, roses in the fold of clouds dancing to the missing notes of an unheard melody. Her feet remember the way, she lets them be.

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