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  • I take a breath this morning. I’m still here. I reach across the bed. Is he? Here? No. He’s still dead. Despair. I pull myself up. Focus on thankful. Thankful for what he gave me, his heart. It healed me. I tried to heal him in return. Cancer. A no one gets out alive kind, cancer of the brain. Alone to ponder how the hell I got here.

    I felt my heart for the first time at the age of nineteen. There was a new kid in the dorm. Looked like a beaver. Not love at first sight. The Beaver became my friend. Smart boy, brilliant boy. He could read a book and then open up his mouth and make the ideas sound like his own. Sometimes Aristotle, sometimes Plato, he could make any theorist his own. Not bad for a kid only nineteen.

    We met in Spearfish SD, a place that Rand McNally rarely maps. Reason? There is rarely change. The people and the landscape remain the same. The beaver liked to shake them up. One time he got a corn row. His already balding white ass head styled like Stevie Wonder. In a town where there were virtually no black people only the ones that the college flew in? Didn’t go over. I asked him why he did it. His reply? Subvert from within.

    One time he was sitting on my couch and I was in the kitchen. I looked over at him. His hair bleached with hydrogen peroxide; his head, a puff of orange-yellow singe. What a mess, I thought, and suddenly I loved him. I loved him with all my capabilities. Nineteen. The first time I felt my heart.

    He loved back. We loved. We were young. We didn’t hold back. This is the beauty of young love, of first love.

    The ugly side of young love is not knowing where you come from. At twenty-two, my home caught up with me and I suspect (although I am not at liberty to say) his home caught up with him too.

    He called me his old lady.

    My step-dad’s term of endearment for my mom was Shmaa. Means cunt in Navajo. She let him call her that for nearly twenty years; she never said a word. Call me old lady? I will live up to every ounce of that term. I threw a hairbrush at his head. Beginning of the end.

    I confided in a girl during the Beaver and I’s demise. She was married with two kids at the time. She was twenty-two. In SD, marriage and kids by that time was a norm. Upon the Beaver and I’s breakup, her marriage was no more and she went after my love. For years, I considered this betrayal.

    I found them online more than a decade later. He’s a professor. She? A teacher. They are doing very well, living in Mankato MN and buried in kids. When I think of this, I have to laugh. We would be so divorced by now. I hate the cold and kids? A comedian once said this…”I like kids….but I also like whiskey and napping.” Not the best mix. When I am sixty, I may get a Shitz Tzu. That’s about the best I can do. He would had not been happy with me either…I would have made a poor Midwestern wife. Too feral.

    His wife once tried to friend me on Facebook. She is no friend of mine. However, I took the opportunity to apologize to him, to try to explain. He is still angry and from his tenor, I suspect he will die this way. I understand.

    I think of his wife…sometimes life’s biggest betrayals are life’s biggest favors.

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