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Apartment below Hettie’s is gutted for renovation and dust rising, her bathroom’s inoperative. Helene losing her hair, Hettie suggests pellagra, no bathroom for two weeks makes her tired, dirty, mad. Helene sees Boston doctor, says “No More Doctors.” Hettie has scene with “specialty plumbers”; when workmen come to repoint brick, dust boils out windows, neighbors call firemen, who break street door and dash in. Helene soon back walking outdoors, legs and head healing. Hettie, “all tuckered out,” meets drummer Milford Graves, who’s glad she’d saved “historic building.” She confesses there’d always be reminders of past life in it. Helene writes of Fred’s birthday party, then Fred’s throat cancer, says it should have got her, not him. Both wish they could “step over” Christmas, then say Happy New Year; Helene sends love to Lisa, who will marry in January. It’s cold; Helene suggests Hettie wear a ski suit, her last-ever words.

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