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  • They come one at a time. Her friends. Old ones, young ones, some carrying gifts or flowers or food. Her husband died almost a year ago and yet still they come, impelled by devoted friendship I imagine. I have no way of knowing, of course, if they are acquaintances or life long friends or tolerated busybodies. But I imagine they are friends. So goes the story in my head, one that always seems to have me on the inside looking out at life, the imagined life, the life other people are living.

    From my office window there is a clear view of her house, her front door, and I watch. Not obsessively of course, there is work to be done here at my desk, but I can't help but notice. They drive up and park. They get out of the car, sometimes retrieving their gifts and offerings from the trunk or the back seat, then they stroll up the short walkway to her front door. The door opens and they disappear. There are hugs, I am sure there are hugs, and smiles and how are you's. Then the magic of friendship fills the house and makes everything wonderful. Or so my story goes. The stories of other people's houses.

    Of course, I realize that she may have the same story about me. People come and go. Some of them bring me gifts, some flowers, some food. I wonder what her stories are; I wonder what roles I play in her head, if any.

    This is what we do. We spin stories.

    But we should be clear on something. The stories are just a shabby representation of what, in its essence, is great mystery. They no more represent truth than the word "bird" fully represents the magic of feathered winged creatures soaring on pockets of air. The stories lead us by the hand and capture our attention but the folly of drawing firm conclusions, of wrongs and rights and clear maps for navigation will lead us to an inconsistency or a roadblock every time. Back to the drawing board.

    And sooner or later the drawing board itself must be discarded and we walk naked with no maps, no words, no preconceptions, into the unfathomable depths of who and what we are.
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