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He put the Celtic music on,sat out on his small apartment deck in a plastic Adirondack chair and rewound the tapes in his mind.

Scenes from six years ago, He could make them as focused or as hazy as he wished, It was a curse.

They had bought a house, her daughter (his step daughter) was achieving high marks in high school and headed off to college. When he looked at his wife under the surface appeared to be her empty nest syndrome kicking in.

He was only partially correct, it was a deeper malaise waking up after a fitful sleep. She would work late or just claim to, Things were not as they seemed though it's hard to play detective when you need to get up and go to work in the morning.

They argued about nothing and everything and only their dogs offered them any real sense of bonding. On more than one occasion he came home to find them lying in a closet avoiding something even they didn't understand.

He knew that he didn't. The evening came when another argument ensued about nothing important,

She ran upstairs to a storage room, reappeared ten minutes later and sat down in front of their desk computer, just staring into random pixels. He stood up and walked toward the staircase, the computer sat at an adjacent wall, He intended to glance at whatever web page was occupying her thoughts.

Instead his eye focused on a jagged piece of something on the floor behind where she sat. He reached down and picked up a shard of discolored glass, his momentum carried him up the stairs to his attic bedroom. The glass shard was yellowed and had a burnt appearance. It smelled like sweet death.

At that moment he discovered that he was married to a crack addict. After that came the reality, the non-reality, the promises, the lies the pain and suffering that comes from it all.

When the day came six years later he knew that he had lived with the madness long enough, He boxed up her stuff and sent her back to where she came from.

No second thoughts, no hesitation, Drug addicts don't have relationships, they take hostages. He couldn't recall how he had slept, and went to work and actually succeeded at his job while keeping his head held high thru this ordeal.

A balancing act while wearing lead weights at first, until the realization the weights didn't have to be there. Gratitude for being able to have perspective on the situation was tempered by what felt sometimes like wasted years....

The remnants of a distant meteor shower came and went in the Northern sky, the shelter dog he had adopted when his other two were given to her as parting gifts years ago lay at his feet,

She looked up and yawned & seeing nothing edible she closed her eyes again. He remembered the words of a wise man he had heard once: "The only commitment that I need to make is that the next decision I make is the right one for myself." The sky flickered again, a mosquito buzzed near his ear, He stood up, laughed and thanked God for this life...


-- MF Kepler resides in a breezy hamlet of Long Island.He has had several stories published in on this site under pseudonyms. He can be contacted at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.


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