For the interim, it seemed best to write about himself as though he were a fictional character. The pain of separation had not yet coalesced into a detectable emotion; instead it seemed spread around him so thinly as to be transparent. He could infer its presence only from the slight alterations it caused in his perceptions of objects. Living alone in his apartment, he had grown used to the late menacing hours when the appliances and furniture seemed to take on the characteristics of living things, alien and not wholly friendly. This was a different kind of solitude. Everything seemed very bright and quiet and made of glass. He could kneel beside the sofa where they had kissed, or the flowers planted along the driveway, and if he lightly tapped them with his fingernail they would answer with a faint chime. If he tapped harder, surely they would shatter.