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Leaving Home This work is considered exceptional by our editorial staff.

I don’t know if you can hear me right now, but I have a feeling that you can’t. I’m sure that instead you are putting in one of your eight-hour night shifts, too busy to think about me or about home or anything besides the two pork-chops, medium-well, for table eight. The last message you sent me said, “We’ll definitely talk soon,” but that was three weeks and four days ago. You probably found a whole new group of friends, like the ones you so enthusiastically told me about as soon as you had settled into your new apartment too many hours away. I wish that the silence surprised me, but I felt its ominous presence on the horizon as soon as you drove fifty, fifty-two, one hundred and seven, then two hundred and twelve point eight miles away in your used Honda with its shiny new license.

I know I should accept your silence, but somehow your voice is the endless reel in my ear, the song stuck in my head as I reach out for memories, memories to be replayed until the fog of what I want clouds reality. I know this, yet I am satisfied in the incomplete, because I am incapable of inflicting upon myself the further harm that would need to precede total healing. And so I hope, a hope that I know will only die with the eradication of What Could Have Been. I hope because while my brain knows you are not my world, my heart refuses to believe it.



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