I didn't manage to save much from the fire. Just my bag, which has a notebook and a netbook and a change of clothes. Everything is gone now.

It's not like I had much to begin with. Some books, some CDs, some clothes, some other random things. I used even less of it. It was just stuff. That's what I always said. I wasn't worried about it. It was fine. That's what I said when I called her asking for a place to stay. "That's terrible," she said. "It's just stuff," I said. "It's fine."

She picked me up outside. We drove around for a while, not saying much. Eventually we stopped in front of her place. "Thanks for letting me stay," I said. She nodded. We went inside. I sat on her couch and she went into her room and came out with a blanket and a pillow. Her blanket. Her pillow. "Let me know if you need anything," she said.

Then she saud, "You sure you're all right?"

"I'm fine, really."

"It's just, you're always smiling. Except you're not now. I've never seen you not smiling."

I shrugged.

"It's like you said, right? It's just stuff. And stuff just ties you down, right? Look at me. I can't leave this place."

I looked around. It was a nice place in a great location for a good price. "I guess."

"So you're free now. You can go anywhere. It's--God, I'm almost jealous."

I didn't ask if almost was the key word. Instead I tried to smile. "Yeah. I guess you're right. I'm free."

She stared at me for a long while, then said, "I'm just--let me know if you need anything."

She was probably right. I was free. I spent the rest of the evening sitting on her couch, staring at her wall.

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