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  • I’m laying in my bed in the dark and she’s laying on a rapidly deflating air mattress in the middle of the room. It’s quiet, mostly. Sometimes one of us will wiggle around to get more comfortable.

    I wait until I think she’s asleep before I tell her, “Sometimes I don’t remember she’s gone,” and it’s mostly quiet. It mostly blends with the shadows and sinks into the walls but she’s got quick eyes and whispers back, “Me, too.”

    She was a mother with babies and she's just – gone.

    I try to think quiet thoughts.

    “And then I remember,” I say, “and I hate her. For what she did.” I turn over to face the wall. “I hate her. She shouldn’t have left you.”

    This is the part that we’re not good at, as friends. Talking about real things. Usually when we have to do this, it’s over text – we don’t even have to respond, if we don’t want to. I need to say it out loud, though, so she knows that it’s real, and also because I don’t even know if hate is what I’m feeling.

    “I hate her,” I say again. “Sometimes, I mean. Sometimes I just think about it and I don’t know how she did it. She’s your mom.” I roll back over and kick my feet a little, ruffling the blankets so the quiet isn't so loud.

    It stretches.

    “I keep thinking I’ll wake up,” she says after a moment, and she sounds tiny. “I’ll go upstairs, or something, and – she’ll yell at me for not putting the laundry in the dryer and I’ll get pissed off but at least she’ll still be there.” I try not to hear the tightness, the stilted way she’s speaking quickly to cover up the tears.

    I want to get out of my bed and hold her, but I don’t. I want to fold her up and keep her safe, but I can’t. I want to turn back time and prevent this all from happening, but that’s impossible and I’m useless.

    I turn back to the wall and cry invisibly because I do, I hate her.
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