I Had A Friend

I met her in 1980. I knew her for 40 years. Yet she was a woman who pulled a cartload of unknowable behind her all her life. I don’t think even she understood it.

She died wrapped in mystery, too. And if I followed every clue, tracked every step, spent every moment for the rest of my life, I would never know the answer.

Did she trip? Was she pushed? Was it a tragic accident that swept her away? Was it malice? Either way, there were no clues in the Florida sand.

She had retired there because her lungs could not bear Midwest winters. Ironically, the could not breathe long in Florida, either.

The painful mystery of her death cannot remove all the times we laughed until neither of us could draw breath.

She vacationed with my family. We owned some rental property. I saved her cat during a blizzard. She dug me out of debt. We loaned her money when she came up short. We exchanged Christmas and birthday gifts, and secrets. Lots of secrets.

But not that last, huge secret. I talked to her on Tuesday. She died on Wednesday night.

She fell face forward and died. She may have been pushed by a person. She was definitely pushed by a circumstance that we who loved her can never piece together.

She drew her first breath in Florida. And her last. We all know life isn’t fair. But this was a cheat too great to bear

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