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  • This is maybe harder to write than my war stories. But then again I was never in love with war, only with Paula.
    We met at a bar. It was the only good country western bar in Beaumont, and its closed down and reopened twice since. Nothing seems to stay solvent in this part of Texas unless its an oil refinery or a prison. I suspect its a matter of priorities, but anyway.
    We danced in circles like real grown ups. None of that bump and grind shit. She gave me her number and I went out and bought a cell phone so I'd have some way of calling. The next night we went to the only places in Beaumont that mattered, the one place you could listen to live music and drink. It was fun. We ended up in her house, and this is painful, because eight plus years later I can still remember the way she smiled that night. How she tasted and felt.
    Before we got down to it we talked about books and politics. Anias Nin and John Kerry. She showed me her record collection. I guess I'm a true millennial, I'd never seen an LP before. She put on Derek and the Dominoes. She explained the saga of Patti Boyd Harrison and Eric Clapton, with the Beatle on the other end of the triangle. The climax came with Claptons guitar howling asking us, have you ever, loved a woman, so much, you tremble in pain? And I knew the answer.
    Things went bad, of course.
    It turned out she was trying to tell me something with the choice in records. There was a boyfriend I didnt know about. I made a few ill advised moves, and acted generally like a jealous dick, who had just gotten his heart broke. I broke the CD of Layla she gave me into a thousand pieces and made my own playlist, with a lot of Bob Dylan from Blood on the Tracks. I made her an enemy. And I moved on, of course. Time heals all wounds, and things get better.
    Years later I would look up the story of Layla and Majnun on Wikipedia. I would read how not being with the woman he loved drove Majnun insane, and into the desert. I read a little more into the whole Clapton thing, too. Unrequited love is the ugliest kind, but in many ways, its the sweetest, man. It really is.
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