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AshesLife took a lot of turns on you, that was for sure. That I was today scattering the ashes of a woman I shouldn’t have met by fate’s standards, much less married, was the injustice that slithered beneath the surface of everything on planet earth.
I was born on a dirt farm to a loving family. Summers are my best memories, picking rattlesnake plantain and wild strawberries in the yard with my big sister and Mama. Scrounging in the dust and heat for dinner wasn’t unusual or bad, simply the way it was. We went to bed giving thanks directed by Mama; I still hear her soft voice though she’s been gone 15 years.
I feel the wooden footbridge sway under my feet, and can almost find Carolina’s face in the reflections shining off the water’s mirrored surface. We are given many good gifts in life. But the more you have, the more there is to lose. And when I found myself an adult orphan and still alone in middle age, the fight went out of me. Until Carolina.
NebraskaHe called her Nebraska. The first time he did was in a Wal-Mart parking lot with August humidity pressing the air from their lungs. It also happened to be the first time she saw him. “Whoa there, Nebraska!” he’d said as the blue shopping cart got away from her and rolled right into him.
She apologized profusely. At least it was empty, and hadn’t got a chance to gather much speed. Besides, what the heck was he doing standing in the cart return?
“Why the heck are you standing in a cart return?” she asked him. He was tall. Lanky. He had a military haircut, and she should have known then. He was young; she likely had the long side of a decade on him. But when he smiled, everything just felt better.
He vaulted out of the pipe enclosure and held something up between his thumb and index finger. A nickle. He grinned again, and his green eyes crinkled, “I dropped it.”
“Well that explains it.”
“And now,” he said, “I ha