It’s afternoon when I call by.  His brother opens the door, eyes bloodshot.  There is the solid tang of weed.  In the kitchen six stoned boys are passing round a spliff.  As habitual and present as furniture. 

Joe is not there.  Instead, beside his bed, is a can of pink Impulse, and a hairbrush, its bristles snagged with red hair.

His brother colours when I ask him.

‘You and she look the same,’ he says, ‘if that makes it any easier.’

It’s the first time I face infidelity and I take a much needed five minutes in the loo.  I’ve ploughed my first year exams, cooked weekends away on the munchies.  Flushed a year for a lie.  How to collect myself? 

Through in the kitchen I crouch amongst those clueless, and girl-less friends of his.  Reaching in, I steal a drag as the joint circles past, and with the smoke blowing from the side of my mouth, scan the circle.  Then leave, taking a piece of furniture with me.