Down the stairwell, out of sight, someone trills after the manner of a bird. At regular intervals, adopting a pitch guaranteed to grate on one’s nerves. Eulalie descends so as to determine her next move and does not reappear again until the following Tuesday. Her voice has all but disintegrated and to make herself understood she blinks her eyes and raps her knuckles on the table in what seems at first like some sort of code, but the more attention I give to deciphering it, the less sense it makes. The patterns that emerged initially turn out to be specters, remnants of whatever organizational storms swept over the gray surface plains of my mind after a night drinking the tequila with the skeletons on the bottle. And brandishing the swords we discovered in the basement. They are heavier than I would have expected and tarnished by water or wind or soil, gorgeous antique things just as likely, I suspect, to break in half as sever a limb and the sound they make when you strike them one against the other puts me in mind of the north rim of a crater I visited once overseas. The macaws nested there so as to receive direct sunlight in the morning and they moved about in the sky in twos and threes without ever really seeming to flap their wings. People came from all corners to have a look at them and they went away invariably disappointed. I don’t know what we expected but the evenings were free for revelry and a certain staring away into space that was extremely popular. You couldn’t go a hundred yards down the avenue in either direction without it seeping into you, without it hijacking your face for its own nefarious purposes. What does it matter? Eulalie exclaims when she has gotten her voice back, or at least that portion of it that belongs solely to her, that portion you could never find in the admixture of anyone else’s voice, with its polished under-surface like garnets and its distinctive scent that does not assault the nostrils, doesn’t even so much as enter them, but you pick it up nonetheless much as you might pick up the words in a beautiful woman’s eyes, or a trumpet when someone else, someone in your family, has left it on the floor in disgust because it is much more difficult to make whole tones with only your lips and the movement of your fingers than that person might have supposed. It’s at moments such as these that we come face to face with what used to be called destiny back when such enormous words did not yet have the power to embarrass us. Now we keep them concealed in other words that don’t have any power whatsoever, that don’t even manage to mean what they were intended to mean but instead just manage to lie there, inert and fundamentally pointless, like constellations.