Utahna Faith

She heard the coffeemaker clanging, the grinder, the stovetop rattle, the steam. Her head hurt and she reached for the valium on the bedside table. The music started, from out there. Blue Jay Way.
She did not have a room mate, was not expecting company. Not aware of company. The last thing she remembered from the night before was stepping out of the Spotted Cat on Frenchmen Street, and deciding to turn left and head for Decatur.
There was a blue mark on her wrist, coming from the inside of her and out to the surface, not floating on the surface trying to sink in.
She had accomplished the main things, the past five years. Her accounts were fully funded.
Her apartment was small, and old. So old that her unit had once been slave quarters. She could hear the ghosts some nights, rise up to talk with them. She would simultaneously apologize and explain away ancestral responsibility. Quakers, she said. They helped with the underground railroad. There was even one intermarriage, after they had moved up north, all of them. Look, see, here's the tin type.
Last night the ghosts left her alone. But someone didn't.
The few steps to the bedroom door felt in her like the full hike Appalachian. She splashed her face. Rinsed her mouth. Touched her hair. Punched at her lips with a stick of cocoa butter.
Her steps were so quiet, fingers brushing the walls. She stopped, framed by the doorway, looking at the back of him. He had curls. Biscuits and gravy on her table. The striped cloth napkins -- where had he found them? The floor was cleaner than she'd seen it in a while, and the dustpan leaned against a cabinet door.
What's your name, she said.
The table was set for one. A side of fried potatoes, with rosemary from her plant on the windowsill. Juice.
A giant orange daisy stolen from her neighbor's container garden. Or was it borrowed?
For you, he said, turning.
He backed to the door, not breaking gaze. Out, close, his steps on the creaky stairs, tip tunk tip tunk. Light across the courtyard. The heavy iron gate below.
She sat. She ate her breakfast.