The apartment looked deceptively small from the street. It had been a store of some kind and then converted into a "living space" by hippie artists years before we ever moved in. It was narrow but very long. Sometimes, it seemed to stretch forever, back and away.
In the morning, sunshine streamed through the plate glass windows that had once been for display. It could become quite warm then and we often left the door open and fresh air would circulate. On the roof, I had built a platform and we would sunbathe there or, at night, listen to the scattered small arms fire from the Valley. One summer night, we made love there while a thief broke in through the back door and stole our television. Stephanie's thighs, coated with her own secretions and my semen, had glistened in the night sky's frantic light.
I built a partition and a sleeping loft under which I placed my desk. I would work into the early morning while Stephanie slept above me and, when I was finished, I would climb up. Sometimes she would almost awaken and murmur strange things in a kind of half-sleep, and I would stroke her cheek or forearm until she turned back to dreams.
We lived there for five years and Stephanie wore her bruises like secret medals. I would sit outside on a kitchen chair with my shirt unbuttoned in the afternoon sun and I would imagine my envelopment within her, imagine my consumption of her, imagine her trembling with anticipation. She would writhe. She would whisper, "I love you. I love you. I love you."