By J.D. Isip

You hated each other—that was always clear. You called her whore
and, on fitting occasions, your best friend. By turns, she filled a void
between husbands. Someone to loathe and crawl into, someone to
libel and share your deepest secrets with over lukewarm coffee, stale
cookies, and half a dozen offspring making our endless circles around
your battlefields and alliances. It was always so exhausting—

She cried for three days when you died. Her son, whom you told me
“Watch that one—he will turn on you,” circled her in confusion, always
looking at me as if to say, “How could she not know? What is all the fuss
over a woman who would have crushed her if the opportunity ever rose?”
We loved each other—the turning son and I. He came to me the night she
surrendered, told me he was spent, and crawled into bed.

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