In the letterbox up the stairs, she found a letter postmarked from the following week. It was cold and wet along one corner, like it had been sitting in snow. She took it into the kitchen and put it on the table in front of him. I'm still waiting, he said, watching her out of the corner of his eye. She took two mugs out of the cupboard and slid them onto the table. She put the mugs back and took out a plate. The plate had grey fingerprints along the rim. I told you, she said. I'm too busy. She dipped the plate into the sink of dirty water, then lifted it out by the edges, and set it gently on the table. They watched the tiny grey soapbubbles crack and disappear. She took his thumb into her mouth and tasted tar and dust, something chalky like soot or medicine. He closed his eyes.