Kate spends her evenings working with the subtle nuances of language, carefully placing this word here, that word there. She strings words together until they are beautiful, until they are perfect. She is good at it. Words are exciting, and she often says there is nothing she likes more than a particularly elegant turn of phrase. Her mother once told her that words are nothing without action. Her mother reads romance novels from supermarket checkout lines.

There is a girl who works in her building at front desk sometimes, who is usually reading while she is working. Every day it is a new book and every day it is a different kind of book. She is not there every day. Kate has never had a conversation with her--all they ever say to one another is "Hello," and "thank you." She has never shown her how she can put together pretty words. Sometimes, when she hands the girl at the front desk her identification card, their hands touch, on accident, and Kate smiles. She says "thank you" because she means it, though she is fairly certain she does not mean it for anything to do with checking her ID.

She frequently resolves to say something, or write something, something beautiful and captivating. Nothing seems to fit, which is not a new experience, but it is frustrating nevertheless. She feels that if she cannot write about something it must be because she does not understand it.

It is roughly eleven o'clock in the morning on a Saturday. She is not expecting to see the girl at the front desk, but she is working there anyway, reading a book by Richard Feynman. She looks up and smiles at Kate as she enters. She says, "Hi."

Kate says, "Hello," and hands over her identification. Then she says, "Thanks," and smiles again, and as she walks past, very nearly stops to say something else.

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