"Long week," the Muse said. "For the both of us." She was laying on her back on the sofa, her legs over the arm, her feet against my chair. I rubbed her ankles idly. "We need another vacation already."
"People are already trying to get me back on the road, Muse. Miranda wants me to move to Chicago, Eliot wants me in Orlando, Belle wants me in St. Louis..."
She closed her eyes. "Well, what do you want, baby? That's what's important right now."
I slid my hands down her ankles and began rubbing her feet, right one first. "I have no idea. I feel like I need to go on a retreat or something. Figure out what I'm doing with myself. With my life. With any luck, I've got another thirty-six years to go. It would be a shame to waste them."
"The toes," the Muse mumbled. "Rub the toes." I did, and she groaned softly before continuing. "You've said yourself to other people that nothing is ever wasted. So you might not write the Great American Novel. So what? Who cares? Is that a problem? Don't think so. Other toes. Keep rubbing. God, yes..."
"I'm not thinking about wasting them on things, Muse. I'm thinking about wasting away myself."
"Unless you get TB, that's not going to happen, dummy." She made a soft purring sound as I ran my fingers between her last two toes, a very sensitive Muse spot. "You don't have any problems."
"I have nothing but problems, Muse."
"Like what? Finding a place to live? There's always somewhere to live. If it comes down to it, you've got friends or family who will put you up. The fact that you hate your job? Find another one. Jobs are just a way to make money, and there's always more money around. They print more of it every day. Love... health... happiness... all of these things come, and then they go, and then they come back again. That's how life works. Great big circles, looping around. You ought to know this by now, Mister Buddha." She pulled her one foot back and slid the other into my hands. "'There is no solution because there is no problem.' A little Marcel Duchamp for you there. Feel your horizons being broadened yet?"
"You're not supposed to be the one to cheer me up, Muse," I said. "I'm the one who does that for everyone else."
She lifted her foot from my hands and pressed her big toe forward against my nose. "Even Santa needs someone to bring him a present from time to time. Now finish me off!" she exclaimed, slapping her foot back down against the chair. "I demand a happy ending! Happy ending!" She lowered her voice and closed her eyes again. "Happy endings for both of us," she said dreamily.