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Once a year, Christmas time, a colorful card arrives in the mail, always signed with the same signature, same return address. Sometimes, he opened them, but mostly, upon seeing the handwriting, he dismissed them to the waste bin. Every so often, a postcard landed in the pile of post, usually from some far away land, always signed with the same signature, same return address. They no longer spoke, sharing only the liquid chain that connected them. One, insecure on the inside but who would forever deny it, spread hurtful, cruel lies about the other. Close to nine years later, the one who sired them said, “No Christmas, and don’t bring any gifts for me. You two have ruined that for me.” Tears flowed after. His wife, asking him how he felt at those words, curled up next to him and told him it wasn’t his fault, assured him it wasn’t his fault, and asked what would make it better. Over the next few days, his wife imagined what she would say to the other.

Walking into the small cafe’, she held his hand, only letting go moments before to lean down and whisper menacingly and sweetly into the other’s ear, “I don’t care what you say about me or my family. I don’t give a fuck what you think of us. I love him with all of my heart and will protect him until the day I die. He always looked up to you growing up, but you treated him like shit. You made him promises you never kept. You dismissed him as a nuisance when all he wanted was to be like you. Thank God he isn’t. And if you ever say another fucking negative, cruel, or hurtful lie about him again, I will make you regret it for the rest of your life, you low-life motherfucker.”

Straightening herself back up, she smiled sweetly at him, and grasping her beloved’s hand again, she turned to him, softly kissed his lips, and then said, “I’ll be outside if you need me.” With her lips still touching his, she said, “I love you.”

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