There are many things she cannot tell him, such as how he shouldn’t unfurl the dishcloth directly outside the window and let the baguette crumbs dumplinged inside fall onto the former playground, now filled with construction gravel and sand. They live on the top floor of an old building, so ancient that no one bothers to clean the obscene graffiti from the walls, although one time, efforts were made to cover up the oversized penis ejaculating titian into the stairwell.

She cannot tell him how little time there actually is between one moment and the next. He would say she speaks too abstractedly and that there are people in the world who don’t know what ‘abstract’ means, who would not have use for the word, even. ‘Stop being an intellectual snob,’ he would say, or she imagines he would say. In terms of languages, he has the upper hand as he knows five, and she defers to him on a daily basis. She resorts to neologisms that thrive on not-too-outrageous poetic license. ‘I trusted you,’ she once said when they were riding the Metro, carrying bags of Japanese instant noodles. ‘I didn’t feel that I would be in any form of danger, except perhaps emotionache.’ He kissed the top of her head and uttered a praise that was audible only to her: ‘What an interesting word you’ve used there.’

He knows there are things he cannot tell her. For example, that when she insists on using the mirror to see how she looks in his eyes and vice versa while making love, while making doggie love, to be precise, he is reminded of an ex who also had a predilection for the mirror, who was also petite but bigger-breasted, and who also said ‘Yes’ almost too quickly in conversation in a way that was in no way disrespectful. He cannot tell her for fear she would think herself merely a lucky understudy. How can you tell a girlfriend even her moans have predecessors when her ultimate worries are falling bread crumbs and coining new words to solicit kisses?