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ugly aging

She takes one step at a time. Puts one foot in front of the other. Day after day, she rises from bed, cares for the one who gave her life. Cares for the house she planned on living in (till death do us part) with her husband. Digs in the earth, gives plants a chance at life. Takes meals to a neighbor who are suffering a slow march to the end of God-only-knows-what (ovarian cancer).
Cares for the one who gave her life (not that many years ago--after all, now midlife is 50 isn’t it?). Sits with her, talks to her, answers the same questions over (and over and over and over again). Walks down to the ice cream parlor. “There’s always free ice cream, anytime you want it,” the matriarch says. “This is a fancy place. Must cost a lot. My daughter takes care of me.”
She leaves, goes home, sorts through a lifetime of collections. Tools (and tools and tools and tools and tools) that were supposed to fill the left side of the workshop they had begun to build together. John Deere tractors that fi…

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