She dims the lights at the end of the evening. After grading papers and planning classes, they put aside their work and she tucks her body in against his.

She exchanges favorite childhood memories for the demons of his past. She curls her fingers around his protectively.

He tells her of Tante Mattie and his and his brother and cousins’ antics. She tells of Magneto and Ellis Island and the voices and personalities in her head that haunt her yet. He fists his hand in her white hair.

Somehow, the horror of their memories fades in these simple, quiet exchanges.