State Lines: Pain enough

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What to do with old love letters?
Eleven things I used to believe.
Oh Elizabeth.
I borrowed your quasi boyfriend.

Two nights ago my friend confessed to having an affair with a married man. She is a hard and dramatic friend with angry black bangs. She was crying and proud of herself and disgusted and crying again in that revolving door of a story that is the same story spinning over many years. I felt sorry for her. And righteous in my home-wrecker virginity such that it is.

Yesterday morning she told me it was all a lie. And of course I thought the real lie was her telling me it was all a lie. But it wasn't. She made it up. She needed to add illicit sex to the story of her infatuation to justify her own feelings. She had hives itching up her neck as she told me. I felt the unsettling loss of control cross my desk.

There was some truth, a flirtation, a friendship crammed with slights and tensions. And the pain of his casual treatment was real. Her obsession, well, those are always real. But the reality was just not jarring enough to for her say to the world with a straight face: this hurts me. this hurts. me.

I thought of sore throats and how I've wished they were red and ragged on the outside, proving my sickness. Or that sleep was carried each day in a bucket and I could dump my paltry hours onto someone's feet and show them, see, not enough! Less than you! I win.


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