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There’s been no preschool in this room for years, and the toys are gone–only the child-size Fisher-Price playset remains. She pushes him down onto its slide, the most convenient place. It’s barely longer than his torso.

Berry touches her face and feels hot sad tears before she pushes his hand away and opens his shirt. He feels them drop onto his chest anyway. Then they’re moving together, in something needful and painful, as old as human grief.

What about slides, he wonders, is so fascinating to children? To anyone? Maybe the idea of acceleration, of a world gone friction-free.