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  • It took 3 weeks but really it had been months in the making. We broke up all over New York. We broke up in my apartment, in yours (beds, kitchen tables, standing in the hall outside the front door). We broke up over dinner outside at an italian restaurant on the Upper West Side. We broke up in your car, parked outside the subway station (I forget which, somewhere in Brooklyn). We broke up on the M86, heading east through Central Park. We broke up on the phone and in email and over gchat and also silently, alone, when we were not with each other and we had only our selves to tell.

    Cathy had been dead a week and I was drinking in bed. You wanted to know when I was going to get better, what my plan was. I didn't have one, couldn't make one, not yet. I couldn't take a shower or keep down food. You said you'd leave me if I couldn't pull it together and by the third week you did.

    At the hospital I mostly slept for 3 days. They took my clothes, my shoes, my wallet. I don't know if, as an adult, there's any feeling as helpless as not having a wallet: no ID, no money. I couldn't remember when they had taken them away. I took a couple pamphlets from the front desk and kept them in my room with me, just so I could own something that no one would take away. The plastic cup they brought with my meds, I kept that too. After the 3 days they let me go. I went back to work the next day because there was nothing else for me to do.

    The doctor says that I'm in shock from watching Cathy die and I admit that nothing has felt real since then. She says the world will always look different now but that someday I'll get used to it and it won't be different anymore, it'll just be my normal. The medicine makes me shake violently and my heart race and I cry in her office, the first time I've ever cried in front of someone I didn't know.

    You wouldn't talk to me after, or answer my emails. I knew you weren't good for me but I was lonely and would have settled, just to have a familiar face. But you had banished me. So instead I got a kitten and sleep around and keep the radio on at night for company. It is a passable approximation of comfort. I am getting better, I think. This is not a happy ending but maybe a hopeful one. Or at least a passable approximation of hopeful.
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