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Mar. 22nd, 2009 02:00 pm
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Everyone changes, Fran says. It doesn’t have to mean…

It doesn’t have to mean the end. It doesn’t have to mean things are over; they took a long time getting here.

Maxie stays. She’s different too. The kind of difference that comes from a year at war, the kind of difference that she never sees in herself until she’s home.

Fran seems more changed than she really is, Maxie tells herself. Fran points out that it’s been twelve months; that she’s been on her own for twelve months; that they were only together for three months before Maxie got sent to Afghanistan.

Maxie knows what it’s like to be left behind.

She knows it’s more than this.

She wakes up every morning to an empty bed; to Fran in the garden, barefoot in February with her eyes closed.

She calls Fran at work one day, and finds that Fran hasn’t worked there for eight months. She doesn’t ask Fran, because Fran leaves for that job every day.

She finds a photo album in the bottom drawer when she’s looking for scissors; there are no photos of Fran in it, and when Maxie asks to take one, Fran refuses.

She dreams, when she falls asleep with her arm round Fran, and she suspects she wakes up when Fran slips out of bed.

She watches the woman she loves, and tells herself she’s imagining the golden blur surrounding her.

Everyone changes, Fran says; Maxie’s afraid to ask how she has.

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