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Tuesday, January 10, 2006

He comes to me in my sleep, sliding up from behind and wrapping his arms around me. "I'm sorry," he whispers. I melt.

Over a clandestine breakfast meeting six years after the divorce and eight steps into his recovery, he needs to make amends. Before leaving, my aunt copies down his license plate number in case I don't return. His sister is present for support and as a chaperone. My infant daughter, the child of my second husband, sits between us, a painful physical reminder of the baby that never was. He calculates how old our child would have been. "Can you ever forgive me?" He does not understand that I forgave him long ago.

Infrequent phone calls and emails over the years detail the deaths of his beloved grandmother and cruel father, his sobriety, and the creation of his computer empire. "I did this for you." You need to do this for you, I remind him. Wounds so deep he will not remarry. He will never have children. A final phone call wishing him happiness with his new life.

But in my sleep he comes back, the strong, tall, handsome boy who dreams of a farm in an apple orchard, and I consider how to leave my husband without breaking his heart.

I wake, wiping wet cheeks, wondering if he dreams of me.

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