My happiness is sprinkled with pepper, God an old waiter in a black tuxedo, grinder in hand, generous with his offering, a greedy smile on his face as he preys for a good tip.

My days are a soft, endless rain of sorrow, drenching the caverns of my mind, a storm steadily brewing; the forecast forever gray and cloudy.

My laughter is tinctured with anger; a bitter bile in my throat. Forgetting, even just for a moment, is treason, so any joy will instantly rein itself in.

My smile is no longer spontaneous, but an exercise, a winsome memory of another me, practice for the permanent smile to be plastered on my wrinkled face someday.

My heart is a turtle, a wise old codger hidden from view, a survivor beating against the walls of its shell.

My soul is mortally wounded, a veteran of another's personal war.

My body is a mass of stress, the muscles in my shoulders rock crossed with banjo strings, my head held prisoner by the malignant, dull headache of grief.

My hope is that these things are not forever, that time, like Nature's true rain, will finally cleanse me of this misery.

Until, or indeed if, that ever happens, I will drink the wine you bring to me, I will make love to you with frightening abandon, and like a starving woman sucking a fresh oyster from its shell, I will suck the very marrow from what's left of my life.

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