There was still too much damage left to inflict. I had long since ceased to engage in this trading of blows. I had marked her once and that was enough. Nearly two decades later it was still pink and raw, but she was not yet finished.
"I'll call you back," she offered.
"Okay," I said and we hung up. Even as we did so I knew she wouldn't call back. As if we were still children, she spoke in code, a code she meant for me to decipher:
You did not do as I expected. You failed me -- again.
Aurelia. I don't know what it looks like now. It has been years since I last saw it from the back of a car window, but I don't fool myself for an instant that even if the place was rotted out and the fields of once bright corn are now nothing but broken earth, that I wouldn't still feel the same pull to it, a need to do the uspeakable for it.
That is one of the reasons why I have never gone back.
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The old grey donkey, Eeyore stood by himself in a thistly corner of the Forest, his front feet well apart, his head on one side, and thought about things. Sometimes he thought sadly to himself, "Why?" and sometimes he thought, "Wherefore?" and sometimes he thought, "Inasmuch as which?" and sometimes he didn't quite know what he was thinking about.
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