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  • I used to come visit you on Saturday nights. I'd sit in your room, on a chair across from you.

    You would drink, sometimes beer, most times something stronger, and your cold, arctic eyes would thaw, glassy and wicked, two aqua pools for me to drown in.
    We'd swap stories, talking over one another, trying to out-volume each other, smiling big, goofy grins. Sometimes, I would say something silly or naive and you'd
    bellow out a loud guffaw, the skin around your eyes crinkling. You'd haul yourself out of your chair on impulse and span the distance between us--so quick--smacking
    my mouth with your wet, sloppy, tequila-sticky lips. My wine-dizzy mind would protest, Why'd he do that? I don't like him that way!
    Which was pretty funny, since all the flirting I ever did was with you.

    I was skittish and small in your arms those first tentative tries. Loving a new body is awkward for me. I'd almost condemned the whole thing a failure but I kept coming
    back anyway. I was like a cat in those days, overly friendly, arching and slinking through your legs.

    I knew I loved you before you did, and I bullied you into saying it, too. You meant it eventually but I should have let you come to it in your own time. The words
    would have held more magic that way, I suppose, but I was always in such a rush, time heavy and loud in my ear, afraid we'd run out any second.

    And so we did.

    We ended as we began, sitting across from one another. Pride and drink making me sulky and you defensive.
    My hostile glare. Your wounded squint.

    It's Saturday night. I am not sitting across from you, but writing a story to you instead, where a tree is our metaphor:

    This tree, the tree that was us, had grown tall and seen vistas that other trees could only dream of. The rings inside told the tale of our glory, the
    growing-pains and contented sighs, the gentle chaos and exuberant quiet and everything in between.

    Then you took a chainsaw to that You-and-Me tree and hacked it off at the ground, leaving behind a gory stump and a trunk sent off to the chipper.

    You decided it would be kinder to cut it before the rot of age and disease could bring it down on its own.

    You were always proactive that way. It's what I hate about you still.

    It's Saturday night.
    But there are no stories or sticky kisses.
    No laughter.

    Just the sound of pen scratching paper.
    And the smell of fresh-cut wood and tears.
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