It was hard to live like that, with rye seeds from the toaster caught in the grout but unseen by anyone who tends to these things; hard to ignore the unopened mail, the coffee rings on the counter, the withered plants, the animal hair, the dust, the constant friction of kids and unclosed drawers; lights left burning in abandoned rooms. It was hard to live with an eye for detail and not crumble beneath the weight of these corrections. Like the refrigerator, the bathroom closet, god knows the garage. And so he chewed the hair beneath his lip, chewed the hair on his arms as a dog might a rash. He got down on his hands and knees to tug out weeds, to work out stains, to remove the caked-on debris from cookware and pots. He carried the look of a man haunted by a knowledge that he’d be a lot better without. And he lived in a constant state of compromise, a state of his own forever collapse.