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Black cowboy boots, scuffed on the side, loose at the heels, hand-me-downs from a student, feet planted in favorite territory, resembling Calvin from the comic strip.

Penguin hockey jersey—the name on back my fantasy future husband, injured with a broken wrist—showcased boldly in a hockey town hating every team that’s not their own, drawing boo’s and tossed beer on the street outside the arena.

Hands, gloved from the chill, not warmed from the beer like the hands bare-skinned all around me, tucked quietly, comfortably in front pockets, shying from the chaos of rapid-fire questions, this-crowded-place or that-down-the-block-tap.

Small talk about cigarettes when I wasn’t walking arm-in-arm with a mister and you felt awkward swimming on the sidewalk of married pairs, keys in hand after six dollar-beers, double whiskey sour and a straight scotch. Leave me thirty minutes on the roads without you.

I stride behind, while they plan a triple date at a steak and sushi. They don’t know sushi, by the way they talk, I tell. My ears don’t ring, my mind does not wander, my heart doesn’t hope. I walk tall, confident in cowboy boots, wanting to be only right where I am, right then.

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