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We are very close. Almost to now.

This is the summer, three years ago, when I take a month off, cart the kids to the beach and get sunburned. I sign up for a water aerobics class, and you offer, every day, to play Bill Murray and slip a Baby Ruth in the pristine water while no one’s looking.

It’s the summer I start a new job, and you build a table I can use for meetings, paint a large dry-erase board on my wall, carefully taping the outline so it is level and square, because you want it to look good, to be impressive.

It’s the summer our kids, both of them, go to camp for a month, the same month, and leave us home alone. We cook dinner and pick figs and sit on the porch. They write us letters. We begin to relax.

It’s the summer my dementia-ravaged, alcoholic cousin – the one who sat with me while my mother died, who sat next to me at my 50th birthday, just one year before, the one who has been closest to me of all my relatives, for all my life – paints a hateful target on you and forces a reckoning.

You are not certain what I will decide.

I choose you.

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