Gray replies, Don’t underestimate yourself. I do not know which part of my statement he is responding to. He does not clarify when I ask.
I tell Gray that he would make an excellent fortune-cookie writer. He simply shrugs.
The evening proceeds. When the moths begin fluttering about the porch light, I stand and go back inside to make myself a cup of hot chocolate. I ask Gray if he wants any, and as usual, he declines. I wonder if it is a telling sign of madness, drinking hot chocolate during a hot summer evening, but then it is my turn to shrug and take another sip.
Gray does not come inside. He remains sitting on the back porch, watching the constellations—or what can be seen of them—crest over the horizon. I finish my hot chocolate and prepare for bed. Only then does he come back inside. He takes a seat by my bedside, and I fall asleep.
In my dream, I am taking a math exam. The questions concern the sets of infinity. It is administered by Georg Cantor. Outside, Leopold Kronecker, Henri Poincare, and my father are banging on the windows. I take out a pencil and begin the test. The banging becomes louder. I finish the test and bring it to the front; Georg Cantor takes out a red pen and immediately begins to mark off every question.
Outside, Henri Poincare takes out a lighter and sets the building on fire. I realize too late that I left the back page of the exam blank, and Georg Cantor looks up from my exam and shakes his head disapprovingly as his desk begins to smoke. The floorboards at my feet begin to smoke.
Gray awakens me with a touch on my shoulder and a knowing look.
I thank him silently. He gives me another look, and his hand lingers for a moment on my shoulder. He remains where he is as I return to sleep.
I awaken slowly to light seeping through the blinds of my bedroom window, and to Gray's steady presence.
He asks me how my sleep was. Dreamless, I respond.
That is good to hear, he replies quietly. He stands and heads toward the door. As he passes by, he pauses to rest his fingertips upon my arm. A moment passes; he continues upon his way.
I dress and prepare breakfast. Gray is already outside on the back porch. I wave to him when he glances back through the window. He nods back, as usual, and shakes his head before I can ask him if he wants anything.
As I eat, I remember my dream. I remember that Georg Cantor did not go insane because of infinites.
Then I head outside and join Gray on the back porch. Together, we watch the day proceed without us.