A single strum across guitar strings suspends my step. Instead of continuing up the stairs, I turn toward the reverberation and smirk. Rufus and I have been working on a few songs this winter: “Wildflowers” by Tom Petty, “Maybe It’s Time” by Bradley Cooper, and our old stand by, “Rivers and Roads” by The Head and The Heart. When he gets the itch, Rufus will snap open the buckles of his case and draw the instrument across his lap, nestling it into the crook of his arm like a sleeping baby. There’s a sweetness at the center of these simple collaborations, a shared vulnerability eclipsing missed notes and forgotten words.