Chapter 4 - two weeks before the key is found

Anton was the first person I called, but Saul was the first one to show up. I don't blame Anton, or I didn't then, for failing to climb down out of his bucket truck to answer the cell phone in the cab, or abandoning his post out on the lines as soon as he got the message, but Saul answered emails for a living so he was less concerned about ditching out at a moments notice.
I was in that ugly ugly apartment, the one we had together, with him in the second bedroom, carpetting everywhere that we were sure they had never pulled up but just added another layer every few years. The floor felt soupy in every room but the kitchen where the vynil was scared and pitted and the pits filled with blackened grease no matter how you scrub.
Dark grease or no the kitchen has always been the most comfortable room in any house I've been in so that's where was, having an out-of-character smoke when Saul ran up the stairs.
"Oh man," he said, "oh man,"and rushed me, half stooping, his arms outstretched like he was rushing a pass.
I let him hold me, then. his touch was light and didn't press on any part of me. I liked it, liked that he didn't talk or say he was sorry, or whatever. The trouble with a dog would have been that it didn't understand. I let him hold me until my eye couldn't stop following a fruit fly in the sunbeam from the kitchen's lone window.
Pipe tobacco has a way of going out if you're not puffing away at it, the little cherry bowl in my left seemed to be petering out, I slipped back and put it back in my mouth.
"What do you want?" he said, grabbing both my forearms, still crunched down on the floor to face me while I sat in the chair.
It's the purest thing, a question like that. It wasn't the ideal moment for wish fulfullment, but it was the best thing that anyone could have said.
"Could you light this again for me?"

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