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Wednesday, September 3

goodbye, old friend

She has been in my life for a long time. Years and years. We’ve aged together, both of us badly, but the affection did not grow old.

I’ve turned to her for comfort. She has felt my tears and stifled my laughter. We traveled together often and once she even covered my eyes when riding on a steep mountain road that took my breath away and made my heart pound.

She wasn’t beautiful. Time had depleted her once youthful lushness and lately she had been but a shadow of herself. Tried and worn, but still willing to be there for me. Almost always dressed in soft flannel except for the hottest of summer days when she would slip, reluctantly, into cotton. She was not vain.

I didn’t expect to lose her this soon, although I knew her time was running out. And she would be with me still if I hadn’t been unable to sleep in Omaha. I tossed and turned, watched TV, read. Nothing. I knew what I needed. I threw on a jacket and made my way quietly down the hallway of the motel and into the dark, chilly parking lot. There she was, waiting on the front seat. I unlocked the van and brought her inside with me, into our room.

“Where were you?” Russell whispered and I answered, “I had to get my pillow”

We were 50 miles away the next morning when I remembered. I had left her there. In a tacky Rodeway, curled up against the inferior institutional pillows. It was too late to turn back.

I miss her on this trip, so does Russell. You could smoosh her into any shape you needed, she molded herself against the door frames and headrests of the van, leaving a soft cushion on the outside for your head. Here in Wyoming, a balled up sweatshirt tries and fails to take her place.

I hope she knows how she is missed. And while I know in my head that they tossed her as soon as we left, my heart believes that she has become a bed for a rescued puppy or her feathers were scattered into the Nebraska skies.

She deserves nothing less.

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