There was a still life on Billy's bedside table-two pills, an ashtray with three lipstick-stained cigarettes in it, one cigarette still burning, and a glass of water. The water was dead. So it goes. Air was trying to get out of the dead water. Bubbles were clinging to the walls of the glass, too weak to climb out.
We have begun to slam doors, and to throw things. I throw my purse, an ashtray, a package of chocolate chips, which breaks on impact. We are picking up chocolate chips for days. Jon throws a glass of milk, the milk, not the glass: he knows his own strength, as I do not. He throws a box of Cheerios, unopened. The things I throw miss, although they are worse things. The things he throws hit, but are harmless. I begin to see how the line is crossed, between histrionics and murder.
Your clothes smell heavily of clothing. Your den is filled with low-hanging palls of fresh air. The only rattle in your car is the sound of toll change in the ashtray. The absence of telltale tobacco stains on your shirt collar tells the tale - you've licked the smoking habit.
Time -- when pursued like a bandit -- will behave like one; always remaining one country or one room ahead of you, changing its name and hair color to elude you, slipping ou the back door of the motel just as you're banging through the lobby with your newest search warrant, leaving only a burning cigarette in the ashtray to taunt you.
Hugh returned from his trip, and days later I still sounded like a Red Chinese asking questions about the democratic hinterlands. "And you actually saw people smoking in restaurants? Really! And offices, too? Oh, tell me again about the ashtrays in the hospital waiting room, and don't leave anything out."
There is nothing more agreeable than having a place where one can throw on the floor as many cigar butts as one pleases without the subconscious fear of a maid who is waiting like a sentinel to place an ashtray where the ashes are going to fall.